World Bank, U.S., China Discussing Congo’s Inga Hydropower Plant

The World Bank is in “active negotiations” with the U.S. government to support the Democratic Republic of Congo’s $12 billion Inga 3 hydropower project, bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

The lender, based in Washington, is providing $73 million in technical assistance to develop the site, which could offer 4,800 megawatts of power supply to South Africa and Congo by the beginning of the next decade.

“The U.S. is going to be a critically important partner, not only in the sense of government participation, but there are a lot of great companies in the United States that actually make the technology that we need,” Kim told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York yesterday, according to a transcript on the World Bank’s website.

Congo is currently considering three groups of companies from Spain, China and Korea to begin construction by October 2015. The government has said it would welcome other companies that wished to join the project.

While the World Bank hasn’t yet decided to support Inga 3’s construction, Kim said Africa “desperately” needed the power generated from Inga, which could eventually produce as much as 40 gigawatts of energy after expansion.

“It’s going to be World Bank, African Development Bank, probably the government of the United States,” working on the site, Kim said. He added that “the government of China has shown great interest in this particular project.”

“If we could get this group together, I really do think we could make it work,” he said.

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