Inga-3 Basse Chute and Mid-size Hydropower Development Technical Assistance Project

March 20, 2014


  • Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is suffering from a sustained and chronic power crisis. Only 31 percent of the population has access to electricity, leaving nearly 600 million people without energy access.
  • Electricity in SSA is expensive, and the average power tariff at $0.12/kWh , is two times higher compared to other developing countries.
  • Hydropower is a proven, renewable, large scale and cost-effective source of energy and its low cost of production (around $0.05-0.07/kWh) compares favorably with other technologies, including thermal, wind, and solar.
  • Responsible development of hydropower can be a strong contributor to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity on the African continent by providing cost-effective energy to households and businesses and improving human well-being

Hydropower in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has enormous hydropower potential estimated at 100 GW, the third largest country potential behind China and Russia.
  • With 40 GW, Inga is the largest hydropower site in the world and the African continent’s potentially cheapest source of power (estimated generation cost is $0.03/kWh).
  • An estimated 62 additional sites with a capacity above 10 MW have a combined total capacity of approximately 30 GW.  In addition, there are 500 smaller hydropower sites in the DRC.
  • Inga 3 BC will provide new electricity access for seven million people in the greater Kinshasa area. Furthermore, development of three selected mid-size hydropower projects will provide access to electricity for two million people in the DRC’s hinterland.

The Technical Assistance Project

  • The project presents a unified WBG approach to support the Government of DRC in developing Inga 3-BC through a flexible government-led, transparent process..
  • It will finance environmental, institutional, social and technical studies that will guide sustainable development of the Inga 3 BC and selected mid-size hydropower projects.
  • The TA project will help the DRC Government to set-up a ring-fenced development authority (Agence pour le Développement et la Promotion d'Inga - ADEPI) to manage and monitor Inga development, and to help mobilize private participation and public financing. ADEPI will be set up by the end of 2014.  The ADEPI will be created by law as an autonomous entity reporting to the Prime Minister's office with a Board of Directors that represents various Inga development stakeholders. All ADEPI staff, including its director, will be recruited competitively with the help of a specialized recruitment firm. All contracts will be renewable based on performance assessments carried out by a specialized firm.
  • The estimated cost of the proposed technical assistance project is US$106.50 million, with the World Bank providing US$73.10 from IDA and the remainder of US$33.4 million being financed by the African Development Bank.
  • The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the technical assistance project on March 20, 2014

Overview of the Inga 3 Basse Chute Development

  • The Inga 3 BC development consists of diverting of part of the water of the Congo River into the Bundi tributary and construction of a dam across the Bundi valley, hydropower station and transmission lines.  Inga-3 BC will not require construction of a dam on the Congo River itself.
  • The Government of DRC has defined the principles to develop Inga 3 BC as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The canal and the dam on the Bundi River will be publicly financed. A private concessionaire, selected through a competitive process, will develop and operate the power station and the transmission lines. The PPP structuring may be adjusted based on market tests supported by the TA project.
  • The Inga 3 BC project includes a commitment from South Africa to purchase 2500 MW of electricity, with the remainder allocated for use by households, small businesses and the mining sector.  This arrangement is designed to increase the bankability of the project and establish its financial viability.

Mid-Size Hydro

  • The TA project will also support development of three mid-size hydropower sites (10-100 MW capacity). This combination will help to ensure parallel increases in electricity services in urban and rural areas across the DRC and help to ensure economic growth is inclusive.
  • By selecting potential projects, performing feasibility studies, accompanying bidding processes, and evaluating the possibilities for carbon finance, the support to mid-size hydropower development will result in competitive bidding in the selection of the private developers and award of concessions.