I Need You, I Don’t Need You: South Africa and Inga III
South Africa is preparing to back one of the largest infrastructure projects on the continent: the Inga III hydroelectric dam in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At a cost of around $14 billion, the dam would produce up to 11 gigawatts of power. South Africa has committed to purchase 2.5 gigawatts—a promise underwriting the financing of the dam, which is due to begin construction soon.
A new report from CIC’s Congo Research Group and Phuzumoya Consulting, I Need You, I Don’t Need You: South Africa and Inga III, places South Africa’s backing of Inga III in the context of its foreign policy. The report argues that South Africa’s current Inga policy is contradictory, oscillating between the desire to project an image of being a pan-Africanist power promoting the continent’s economic development, and the reality that committing to the project makes little financial or energy policy sense. A power purchasing agreement from South Africa is critical for the dam’s construction—but buying electricity from Inga III will be risky for South Africa, especially since it may end up being expensive than other sources. The resulting uncertainty about whether South Africa will ever really be an anchor client for Inga III thus puts into question the bankability—and indeed the feasibility—of the whole project.
Download the full report in English here.