WASHINGTON, June 28, 2012 -The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved additional financing of an International Development Association (IDA*) grant in the amount of US$201.5 million to expand transmission capacity to better serve the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) domestic power demand and to support regional power market integration in Southern Africa.
The Southern African Power Market Project (SAPMP) will increase the availability and reliability of low cost, environmentally friendly electric energy in the Southern African Power Pool, as well as support further integration and trade between SAPP countries.
The Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) connects the power systems of twelve countries, including ten countries of the Southern Africa sub-region (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and Tanzania and DRC. Nine of these are operating members, namely linked to the interconnected grid that carries around 97 percent of the energy produced in SAPP.
DRC has enormous hydropower potential. The 4,320 km long Congo River accounts for some 38 per cent of the continent’s discharge into the oceans and the Inga rapids on the river rank as the greatest source of hydroelectric potential. Today, however, this remains mostly untapped with serious household electricity access and development implications. The lack of sufficient power generation, transmission and distribution capacity means that the vast majority of DRC’s population and its economy are under-served
"Ensuring reliable access to competitively priced electricity is critical to employment growth, including for women, and to reduce poverty rates on a more broad and diversified basis" explained Manuel Berlengiero, Task Team Leader for the project.
This additional financing will mainly be used for the rehabilitation of the 2,300 km long transmission line connecting the Inga site to Zambia.
The project is consistent with the current Country Assistance Strategy for DRC, the Bank’s Africa Strategy, the Regional Integration Assistance Strategy, and the 2010 and 2011 World Development Reports (WDR).
"One of the strategic elements of the CAS said Eustache Ouayoro, Country Director for DRC, is that rehabilitating and expanding of electricity transmission systems and supporting DRC’s central role within the development of regional power networks will achieve high, sustained and shared economic growth"
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.