12 August 2009 – World Bank President, Robert Zoellick said this week that the only way for the DRC to attract investment and fully exploit its potential, is by improving governance in its energy sector. Zoellick was speaking at the site of the Inga hydro power project which the World Bank is trying to rehabilitate.
"The challenge is not only production but also efficient governance and further development of the sector," he said. "We know there is a tremendous amount of work to do, but we think if we can take this step we can draw in more partners for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and ultimately improve the life of the people, which is the real purpose," he added.
Years of neglect and war mean Inga is currently operating under-capacity, but World Bank experts believe that it could generate approximately 45 000MW – enough to power some 500-million homes across the Southern African countries of Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. To this end, the World Bank is providing funding of $430 million for the Inga 1 and Inga II hydro plants.
The government of the DRC wants to raise $2.5 billion to rehabilitate existing infrastructure, plus an additional $3 billion to increase production. Another $22 billion is needed for the development of Inga III and Grand Inga.
Zoellick wants to see how the World Bank can help debt-ridden state power company SNEL finance further development either through guarantees or private sector partnerships.
"Electricity not only means better lives for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it also means business opportunities," he said.