Grand Inga Dam, DR Congo
Grand Inga, the world’s largest hydropower scheme, is proposed for the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of Africa’s most politically volatile and corruption-plagued countries. The massive dam is part of a greater vision by the international economic community to develop a power grid across Africa that will spur the continent's industrial economic development. But with a price tag of US$80 billion, concerns are growing that foreign companies will gain vast economic benefits from this mega-project, taking attention away from the development needs of Africa’s poor majority. For more detailed information on the Grand inga Dam, visit our Grand Inga overview.
Grand Inga could produce up to 39,000 MW of electricity, over twice the power generation of Three Gorges Dam in China, and more than a third of the total electricity currently produced in Africa. While feasibility studies for Grand Inga are not yet finished, the project is already being touted as a way to "light Africa" by both companies that stand to benefit from it and governments that hope to receive power from it. Grand Inga is listed as a priority project of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the World Energy Council.
There are also plans to develop Inga 3 (3,500 MW) for export to South Africa and other neighboring countries, and to attract energy-intensive industries to DRC. Inga 3 is a presidential priority project of South Africa and DRC.
The nearby Inga 1 and 2 dams are undergoing a major rehabilitation with financial assistance from the World Bank, European Investment Bank and African Development Bank. Inga 2 is also undergoing rehabilitation through a partial privatization scheme with little-known company, MagEnergy, and financial support from South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation. Inga's displaced communities have been struggling since the 1960s to obtain fair compensation and have received nothing to date. The poor maintenance and financial problems of Inga 1 and 2 raise concerns about the risks of Inga 3 and Grand Inga.