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South Africa: Eskom moves into the DRC

Peaceful presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the end of this month will be critical for southern Africa's plans to increase its power generation capacity and meet rising demand from new investments.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), says it is banking on peaceful presidential elections between President Joseph Kabila and his rival, Jean-Pierre Bemba at the end of the month in order to speed up the implementation of its multi-billion dollar INGA hydro-power project.

The past two years have not been good for the reputation of South African power parastatal, Eskom. In those years, major cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town have experienced serious power disruptions, leading to complaints from businesses and members of the public and questions about Eskom's capacity to deliver adequate energy to power South Africa's fast-growing economy. It is therefore unsurprising that the parastatal is still looking for more power generation opportunities beyond the Limpopo River.

One such opportunity for stabilising the country's power supplies has been the planned investments into the DRC's INGA hydro power project. The INGA hydro-power development is a flagship project for the Nepad. The continental body sees the project as an opportunity for the continent to generate enough energy for itself and export to countries in Europe.

Recently stakeholders, ranging from African regional organisations, electricity companies and non-governmental organisations met the African Development Bank and the World Bank to discuss developments around INGA 3, more so in the light of a stabilising political environment in the DRC. The South African energy parastatal says they are also talking to other potential funder’s to ensure that the project gets off the ground.

The $5 billion Grand INGA project is expected to produce some 40 000 mega-watts of electricity when it is complete, which will be around 2011. One megawatt of electricity can power 1 000 homes.

Additional information:
News date: 16/10/2006

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