Grand Inga: Leaving Africans in the Dark?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The potential to profit from the world's largest dam project – the Grand Inga hydropower scheme, proposed for the Congo River – drew bankers, engineering firms and industrial interests to London in April 2008 to discuss financing for the $80 billion project. African civil society has been raising concerns about the project for some time, but was blocked from attending the London event. The meeting made clear that both the proposed Inga 3 and Grand Inga schemes would be developed primarily for major industries such as aluminum and mining interests. Project promoters would like the dams to be developed privately in order to minimize the government’s role and better control the project’s financing and operations.

The resurgence of the massive project made headlines in The Guardian, Reuters, the BBC and elsewhere.

"Grand Inga's prospects of being completed by 2022 are said to have risen significantly in the last year as countries, banks and private companies have found they can earn high returns from the emerging global carbon offset market and UN climate change credits." - The Guardian Read the full article

"The problems dogging the project are massive, ranging from political instability including the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) recent civil war to local objections and, not least, the massive costs involved." - Reuters Read the full article

Congo's existing dams, Inga 1 and Inga 2, have not increased access to electricity for more than 50 million Congolese currently not connected to the grid. Indigenous communities involuntarily displaced for these projects remain uncompensated. International Rivers is working with local people to ensure the problems that remain from these poorly executed projects are resolved before new dams go forward.

Photo: Thierry Michel/Trigon Film
Photo: Thierry Michel/Trigon Film