paving the reconstruction

Interview with Mr. A. Muyumba Kalenge
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Mr. Alphonse Muyumba Kalenge,
Managing Director

2831 Av de la justice
B.P 600 Kinshasa - RDC
b (243) 8843732
Fax: (243) 1233667

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a big country in the centre of Africa:

2.345.000 km² of surface;

50.000.000 in habitants,

a very rich and subsoil.

When one talks about the DRC wealth, one thinks directly of copper, gold, diamond, cobalt. If it is true that mine resources make Congo a geographical scandal, it is important to emphasise that the most significant wealth of the DRC its huge hydrographical resources made of the Congo river and its numerous tributaries.

Owing to these, indeed, DRC has a very rich environmental patrimony and an inexhaustible power deposit that could supply all Africa.


The Democratic Republic of Congo has a huge energy potential. This is primarily made up of significant hydropower resources values at around 100.000 MW.

Nearly 44 %, that is 44.000 MW, are concentrated at Inga Site, 150 Km away from the Congo river mouth. This capacity is practically guaranteed for all the year owing to the steadiness of Congo river flow (42.000 m3/s) due to the fact that is tributaries are located on both sides of the Equator.

The series of swifts found at Inga Site makes it the most significant by hydroelectric capacity deposit in the World concentrated in a same point: the wild energy that clears away there annually is of the order of 370 billions kWh, that is 37 Millions TOE (Ton of Oil Equivalent) is a non pollutant and renewable energy. Its low production price remains a very interesting advantage:

- 671 US $ / kW to 339 US $ / kWh ;

- 1,44 c US / kWh to 1,08 c US / kWh


The first combined studies of Inga Site development were elaborated in 1937 and 1960. The development of which the basic principle was the achievement through the splitting up in terms of actual requirements of electricity and owing to the installation cost, included in two phases of which the first one was the Nkokolo Wally development and the second one, the construction of Grand Inga.

"NKOKOLO Valley" plans uses a dead valley of which the extremity downstream was blocked by the Shongo dam which allows to use under a fall of 60 m, a fraction of flow at low water, taken from the river. The plan includes the three first stages of the Site development that is:

- Inga 1 (351 MW) commissioned in 1972 ;

- Inga 2 (1 424 MW) commissioned in 1982 ;

- Inga 3 (1.700 a 3.500 MW) in project.

"GRAND INGA" scheme which involves the river dam will allow to divert to the neighbouring Bundi valley and so to use the whole flow water, 39 000 MW will be the generated by 52 units of 750 MW each at the final stage of the equipment.


The development of Grand Inga of which the installed capacity over-exceeds the only requirements of the DRC, involves the construction of large energy transmission axis to other countries. Theses corridors for the bulky transmission of electric energy are compared to "highways" to which national power systems will be connected.

There are:


Inga is connected to Southern African countries interconnected systems through the following axis:
Inga - Kolwezi -Karavia (DRC) - Luano - North Kariba (Zambia) - South Kariba - Insukamini (Zimbabwe) - Phokoje (Botswana) - Manaba (South Africa).

The studies for the strengthening of the interconnection between DRC and Zambia systems conducted by a ZESCO (Zambia, SNEL (DRC), ESKOM (South Africa) joint team are completed and the outcomes for the feasibility of the project were presented to the SAPP Executive Committee in September 1996 in Kinshasa.

The main conclusions of these studies are as follows:

- At short term: construct a second 220 kV line between Karavia and Luano substations to allow a 500 MW wheeling:

- At medium term: Strengthen the Inga - Kolwezi (HVDC lines converters and construct 330 kV line between Kolwezi and Luano, via Solqezi in Zambia, with a view to allow the southern African interconnected system.

- DRC - Angola - Namibia - South Africa link of which the preliminary studies, which are available, conducted by a joint SNEL (DRC) ENE (Angola), NAMPOWER (Namibia) and ESKOM (South Africa) is another way for the following of power from Inga to Southern Africa.


Concerning Central and Western Africa, since 1953, the City of Brazzaville interconnected with DRC western grid, which includes now Inga stations.

There exist a project for the construction of a hV line from Kwilu substation within SNEL western and, to supply some cities in the Northern part of Angola such as Mbanza Congo, Maquella do Zombo, Soyo Tomboco, etc..
This also considered the construction on a line from Inga to supply the cities of Pointe Noire in Congo and Cabinda in Angola. This project could be the first step of a future interconnection between Western and Central African systems through DRC - Congo - Gabon - Cameroon - Nigeria link.

The interconnection with Nigeria will in effect connect Congolese grids to those of western African countries from Nigeria to Mali.


The Northern Africa axis includes the ambitious DRC - Egypt line project for 5 300 km long which will supply the CENTRAL Africa Republic, Sudan and Chad at its passage. The studies of this mega project, conducted by the Group EDF (France) - LAHMEYER (Germany) assisted by African consultants: BETEC (DRC) and EPS (Egypt), under ADB funding, were completed in December 1997 when their conclusions were presented to the Project Management Committee in Cairo.

These studies, which have shown the feasibility of the interconnection project, provide for the commissioning of the first stage in year 2010. However, the accomplishment of this tie line is subject at least 6000 MW of installed capacity in the first stage of which extensive studies must start now to comply with the deadlines.

Special features on the Inga Site and those of power highways as defined here above make Inga the key for the Africa renaissance insofar as, through these various projects, INGA becomes:

- A factor of economic co-operation development in Africa and in the World ;

- A factor of peace and solidarity between African countries ;

- The angle stone of the African industrial integration

- A determining element for preservation the environmental patrimony in the countries being supplied by its energy.


The investment program defined for Inga Site includes two Phases.
Phase 1. Agrees with the rehabilitation of the existing stations (Inga 1 and Inga 2) as well as the associate transmission system.
Phase 2 concerns the construction by stages at the GRAND INGA stage and the axis for the power transmission to Northern Africa, Western Africa and South Africa. From 2000 to 2010, the investment requirements and the estimates export revenues will be as follows:

Phase 1.: Rehabilitation of Inga 1 and 2.

Refurbishment and strengthening of associate HV lines.

Period of achievement: 2000 - 2010 investment cost:

- Stage 1: 140.923.000 USD

- Stage 2: 428.100.000 USD

TOTAL: 569.023.000 USD

Minimal export revenues (2000 - 2010) including those already effective with the existing facilities:
Amount: 624.220.000 USD

Phase 2.: Inga Site Development (Construction of Grand Inga and the associate power transmission axis)

- Stage 1:


- Tie line with the North (Egypt)

- Tie-line with the South (RSA) ;

- Tie-line with the West (Nigeria)

Period of achievement 2000 - 2010

Investment cost:

- Inga power station: 4.025 Millions $

- Northern Africa Axis: 5.753 Millions $

- Southern Africa axis: 560 Millions $

TOTAL 10.938 Millions $

Minimum export revenues from 2010 to 2020:

Amount: 11.564 Millions $

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© World INvestment NEws, 2002.
This is the electronic edition of the special Democratic Republic of Congo report on published in Forbes Global Magazine. April 1st, 2002 Issue.
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