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The incredible £64bn mega-project to build the world’s biggest dam in unlikely country


An unlikely country could be poised to build a £64bn hydropower station, which would be the largest of its kind in the world.

Within the Democratic Republic of Congo sits the Congo River, the second largest river in Africa after the Nile.

The river’s undulations mean it is ideal for generating green energy and has the potential to power millions of homes around the country. In fact, such is the energy-generating potential of the river, a dam built there could power a large chunk of the entire continent.

The name of the proposed dam is the Grand Inga. It takes its name from the other two dams already dotted along the river – Inga 1 and Inga 2 – but would be much larger.

The idea for building a vast dam in the area first gained traction in 2016. However the World Bank pulled its funding due to differences with the country’s government at the time.

However, after Félix Tshisekedi replaced leader Joseph Kabila as DRC president in 2019, the World Bank re-entered the fray.

That said, there are plenty of obstacles in the way of the Grand Inga Dam project. The sheer scale of it (it would be twice the size of the world’s largest Three Gorges dam in China) means that it will require significant investment from other nations and international organisations.

However, the DRC is one of the world’s most corrupt countries and so bodies and states may be reluctant to invest.

Plus the DRC’s demand for energy is tiny compared to the size of the country that it is.

The DRC is Africa’s second largest country in terms of land mass and with a population of 95 million people, is bigger than the UK, France and Germany. In fact, it’s the 11th most populous country on earth.

Despite its size, only one in five of its citizens have access to electricity. As such, a £64bn hydropower station is not really necessary for domestic demand.

What’s more, Inga 1 and Inga 2 are not even operating at full capacity as it is and both require restoration – showing the huge challenges this infrastructure project could face in getting off the ground.

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