World's Largest Hydropower Project Will Produce One-Third Of Africa's Electricity, But Who Will Get It?

Julien Harneis/CC BY-SA 2.0

At double the size of China's Three Gorges Dam, the 40 GW Grand Inga hydropower project, to be built on the Congo River under an agreement between the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, will be the world's largest by a wide margin. It will increase Africa's electricity generating capacity by one-third.

But as IPS News reports, as is unfortunately typical with many big-push style projects in the developing world, the local people will likely get little of the electricity produced by the Grand Inga.

Instead, the power transmission lines are expected to go towards mining and industrial facilities, towards the big cities in South Africa and Egypt, as well as possibly being exported to Europe.

IPS says;

The globe's top development financiers, World Bank, African Development Bank (AfBD), European Investment Bank as well as a number of private, foreign energy companies are all keen to contribute large sums to the Inga project... "Foreign investors are contributing to the construction of the dam to get their share of large quantities of cheap power upon completion of the project," warned Institute for Democracy in Africa researcher Charlotte Johnson..."This will force the state's hand...to enter into agreements concerning the final destination and usage of the power generated...Local power grids are not included in the budget. African communities living in darkness are not the intended beneficiaries of Grand Inga, and the 500 million people who have been promised electricity will remain in the dark."

Read more about the Grand Inga Dam, from International Rivers

Tags: Africa | Hydropower