28 May 2008 - A workshop was held from 23-24 May 2008 in Kinshasa, on the "Policy and Development Strategies of the Electricity Sector in the DRC", a government programme which aims to accelerate urban and rural electrification, to gradually meet national energy needs, and to exploit the large hydro electric potential in the DRC.

Hydro electricity is a resource which is not sufficiently exploited in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although the exploitable hydroelectric potential is 100 000 megawatts, annual production is only 2516 megawatts.

A 44 000 megawatt potential is concentrated at Inga in Bas Congo province, and the government wants to exploit this vast potential, which could provide electricity to the whole of Africa.

The 6% rate of access of the population to electricity is the lowest in Africa, with access of 35% in urban areas which have 22% of the country's population, compared to approximately 1% in rural areas, where 78% of the population live.

Mr. Justin Lubo Kasongo, principal private secretary of the DRC energy ministry, explained that "the government was committed to gradually improving the population's access to electricity."

As part of these objectives, the government aims to reform the electricity sector, including SNEL - the national electricity company - and "to ensure by 2025 a greater access to reliable electricity for all parts of society and its communities."

The government aims to accelerate urban electrification from 35% to 90%, and rural electrification from 1% to 50%.

"The government reaffirmed the liberalization of the electricity sector and wants to give, in the short run without hesitation, clear signals of the opening up of the electricity market," Mr. Lubo added.

In the reform of the electricity sector in the DRC, the government hopes to call on international financial institutions, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the private sector, as well as public and human resources.