South Africa, Congo sign draft treaty for 40,000-MW Grand Inga hydroelectric plant development

The Republic of South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo have approved a draft treaty that will allow for development of the 40,000-MW Grand Inga hydropower plant on the Congo River.

The treaty creates an "enabling framework," which the South African government says will allow the countries to jointly explore different economically feasible options for developing Grand Inga.

Officials say they will likely look to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for financial help, as those countries will also likely benefit from the Grand Inga plant.

Construction of the Grand Inga project would presumably be executed in stages alongside upgrades at the existing 350-MW Inga I and 1,424-MW Inga 2 hydropower plants -- both of which are also located along the Congo River.

HydroWorld.com reported in November 2011 that South Africa President Jacob Zuma and DRC President Joseph Kabila had signed a memorandum of understanding to start developing the first phase of the Grand Inga plant.

That memorandum also included provisions paving the way for South African utility Eskom and DRC utility Societe Nationale d'Electricite to enter into an agreement to facilitate execution of the project.

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