DR Congo signs US$280 mln hydro plant deal with India


The Democratic Republic of Congo has signed a US$280 million deal with India to build a hydroelectric plant in the south of the vast central African country, the Congolese government said. Work on Katende I, in the province of Kasai Occidental, is due to begin in November and will take four years, said Congo’s energy minister, Gilbert Tshiongo.

The plant is expected to have a capacity of 65 megawatts when completed, Tshiongo added. It is part of the government’s plan to alleviate chronic power shortages in a country where 6 just percent of the population has access to electricity.
“The agreement foresees an Indian contribution of US$168 million dollars. The Congolese contribution is fixed at US$112 dollars,” Congolese finance minister Matata Mponyo said, following a signing ceremony attended by president Joseph Kabila and representatives from India’s Exim Bank.

Congo, which signed a similar deal worth US$367 million with China earlier this year, has vast hydroelectric potential, owing to a network of powerful rivers that drain the forest-cloaked Congo basin.

In a speech late last month, President Joseph Kabila vowed to improve the country’s power supply.