The DRC has immense and varied energy potential, consisting of non-renewable resources, including oil, natural gas, and uranium, as well as renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric, biomass, solar, and geothermal power. Hydroelectric power accounts for 96 percent of domestic power generation, the bulk of which is generated by the Inga I and Inga II dams located in Kongo Central province. Inga I and II have an installed capacity of 1,775 megawatts, and the government is supporting maintenance to bring Inga back to full capacity.
Despite millions of dollars of donor funding, according to the World Bank only 19 percent of the DRC’s 108 million people have access to electricity – about 41 percent in urban areas and one percent in rural areas. Lack of access to modern electricity services impairs the health, education, and income-generating potential of millions of Congolese people. Most power generation development is directed and funded by mining companies seeking to power their facilities.
The Tshisekedi government is seeking to increase power connections by appealing for development funding and mandating that electricity companies provide power to the population in addition to mining companies. In addition, many universities and academic institutions in the DRC have founded centers for the research and development of renewable energy such as solar and biodiesel.
Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led public-private partnership aiming to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers tools and resources to private sector entities to facilitate doing business in sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector. The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 institutionalized Power Africa. Learn more about the full Power Africa toolbox or other other opportunities offered by Power Africa.
- Electrical power generation
- Transmission line construction
- Off-grid network development
- Mobile power generators
- Run-of-river mini-grid development
- Hydroelectric turbine construction, maintenance
- Solar energy
The Government of the DRC (GDRC) has launched a program to develop the energy sector, with the aim of developing the hydroelectric sector and exploiting the power of the numerous rivers in the Congo Basin. The GDRC welcomes developers to supply power, build the transmission lines, or sell the necessary equipment. There is also a tremendous need for off-grid electric solutions. Along with hydroelectric power, the GDRC seeks to build and rehabilitate several geothermal stations across the country. Several solar investors have explored the DRC market and are in the process of signing MOUs with the government. The GDRC seeks firms with financing and experience to collaborate with local and parastatal firms to build these power-generating facilities.
A high priority is rehabilitating Inga I and II’s turbines and building the third phase of the Inga Dam. The third phase of the dam would generate an estimated 4,400 megawatts, with the bulk of the power supporting copper mining and smelting operations in Haut-Katanga province, and exports to South Africa. Approximately one third of the expected power would be designated for parastatal utility Société National d’Électricité (SNEL) to power Kinshasa. The GDRC envisions Inga III as a step towards the construction of “Grand Inga,” an eight-dam project that could generate as much as 40,000 megawatts, which could meet most of the African continent’s current energy needs.
For more information on energy in DRC, please visit:
- Global Trade Atlas: https://www.ihs.com/products/maritime-global-trade-atlas.html
- Congo Energies: https://congoenergie.org
- Congo Business: http://www.congobusinessrdc.org/
- Ministry of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity: https://energie.gouv.cd
- National Agency for Investment Promotion (ANAPI): https://investindrc.cd/fr/Energie
- One-stop shop for business creation: https://guichetunique.cd/
- USAID: https://www.usaid.gov/democratic-republic-congo
- Power Africa: https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica