Corruption and Infrastructure Megaprojects in the DR Congo

Augustin Nguh and Rudo Sanyanga
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Report details corruption in DRC, potential for marring Inga dam developments

The Inga II Dam
Photo by Rudo Sanyanga

The DRC government – with financial support from the World Bank, African Development Bank, USAID and European Investment Bank – plans to construct the world’s largest hydropower scheme: the Grand Inga Dam on the Congo River. The scheme is expected to generate 40,000MW of electricity, most of it for export to South Africa.  Unfortunately, mega projects such as this scheme are often beset by corruption. The Grand Inga Dam’s price tag of US$80 billion (a huge investment for a country with a GDP that averages just $348 per person), coupled with the country's poor governance record and its unstable political climate, could be a recipe for fueling corruption.

Annual corruption indices by Transparent International, the World Bank and other anti-corruption monitoring organizations show no improvement in the status quo despite legislation that Joseph Kabila’s government is credited for.  The DRC government has largely failed to transform the huge export revenues it accrues into development benefits for its people. Under these circumstance the Grand Inga hydropower project can be expected to lead to a "resource curse" just as oil and mining extractive industries have done across the continent. Public and private investors should be wary of supporting such a huge project in such a dysfunctional system.