Inga III: Kept in the Dark
Inga III is a huge hydroelectric project that could supply much of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the African continent with energy. For several years, discussions about the project between the Congolese presidency and two international consortiums have been held behind closed doors. In this report, released on October 28, Resource Matters and the Congo Research Group tell the story of the negotiations around the world's largest hydroelectric site. The report argues that there is currently no guarantee that the population will benefit from the electricity generated by the future power plant.
Since 2015, the Agency for the Development and Promotion of the Grand Inga Project (ADPI) has been tasked with selecting the developer and moving the project forward. ADPI works under the direct supervision of the Congolese president’s office. Many important actors have been sidelined from the project: civil society, relevant government ministries, and the Congolese parliament only receive piecemeal updates. In October 2018, after two years of almost total silence, the ADPI held a public ceremony during which it signed an "exclusive development agreement" with the China Inga Group and the ProInga Group, which is mainly Spanish. The agreement has not been made public.
This nearly $14 billion project, which remains a priority for both President Félix Tshisekedi and the African Union, would quadruple the country's current electricity production. However, there is currently no guarantee that any of this electricity will be reserved for the Congolese population. Given the need to find creditworthy customers to carry out this project, half of the electricity expected to be produced has already been promised to South Africa. In the coming months, negotiations on the project will continue in a fragile context. In fact, significant disputes seem to be emerging between the two consortiums as they carry out complementary studies and finalize the design and fundraising for this mega-project. Additionally, there are growing voices within the Congolese government criticizing the new scale of the project and calling for a return to a more modest plan.
With Félix Tshisekedi’s ascent to the presidency and his promise to improve the population’s access to electricity, it is time to reframe Inga III as part of an overall national energy strategy. To do so, this report argues, the project’s development process must become more inclusive and transparent.
Download the full report in English here.