Power for Africa

In the face of the mounting energy crisis, many African nations have recently launched projects to produce cheaper bio-fuels though few have gained steam.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also set up a special commission to study the possibility of producing bio-fuels in the vast central African nation which cultivates less than five percent of its arable land.

With adequate technologies, the conversion of biomass (wood and crop waste products, grass, straw and brushwood) while carburizing could provide abundant availabilities of clean energy and at low cost, while stimulating the economic development of the rural communities (increase in the incomes and improvement of food safety), according to FAO.

The DRC also well known for its massive water resources with the Congo river powering the Inga I and Inga II hydroelectric dams. Rehabilitation of Inga I and II is underway and there are plans for Inga III and Grand Inga, two massive new hydroelectric stations. Projections indicate that Inga III would generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity.

Inga 3 is the centerpiece of the Westcor partnership, which envisions the interconnection of the electric grids of the DRC, Namibia, Angola, Botswana and South Africa. The World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank, bilateral donors and the southern African power companies have all expressed interest in pursuing the project, estimated to cost USD $80 billion.

Grand Inga would generate 39,000 MW – enough to satisfy the energy needs for the entire African continent at a cost of $80 billion. Critics contend the huge amounts of money required for the project would be better spent with smaller scale, localized energy projects that would target meeting the needs of Africa’s poor majority.

iPAD Central Africa 2007: Conference, Exhibition and Executive Insider Briefings round-table on Energy and Infrastructure come at the perfect time in the DRC’s socio-political and economic renaissance.

Taking place in Kinshasa from the 9th to the 12th of October, this key infrastructure event promises to put questions on the table relating to the energy needs of this resource-rich country. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Inga project with SNEL, the electricity utility of the DRC. Here, delegates will witness first-hand the implementation of the rehabilitation plans and view the progress of the project, ask questions and get an insight into the future of the project.

For more information visit www.ipad-africa.com/central.

To sign-up for the event and visit to Inga, please contact Patricia Kazaka: patricia@spintelligent.com, telephone +27 21 700 3500 or fax +27 21 700 3501