DRC US $14bn for Inga 3 Dam Project : Mirage or Miracle?

Published on 21st April 2020

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has signed a deal with the Chinese and Spanish partners for the construction of the US $14bn Inga 3 hydroelectric dam project.The Inga 3 project is part of a major programme to expand hydroelectric dams along the Congo River. It has been on the drawing board for around 30 years but has been repeatedly delayed.

Over the last 20 years there have been oil tanker loads of disingenuous, international initiatives to bring electricity to about 610 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. However, with rare exceptions, most of the initiatives were deeply and firmly planted in schemes of corruption, political shenanigans and malfeasance, solely for the actualization of self-serving agendas and self-enrichment. See: Africa’s big infrastructure projects are often a win for international investors not for Africans and Africa Has a $100 Billion Infrastructure Problem. What’s Missing?

Until the G-7 Nations sincerely acknowledge and aggressively press for African governments to take seriously, the top priority of catalyzing the kind of sweeping cultural, institutional and moral changes required for developing their own micro/macro-economic acuity; building well structured, trusted and respected financial and legal institutions and regulatory systems; and the derivation of demonstrable technological, engineering and construction capacity to masterfully plan, design, implement, drive and prudently manage major infrastructure projects, Africans will continue to account for more than half of the people on the planet without power.

Africa doesn’t need more donor-funded feasibility studies for new generation plants or transmission lines that end up gathering dust in the drawers of overstretched and oftentimes, ill-informed or misinformed and/or corrupted bureaucrats. Africa continues to have way too many non-master-plans conceived by foreign institutions working in collusion with corrupt African politicians, Agency ministers and greedy civic/business leaders that completely ignore their specific country's existing humanized priorities, political wrangling and financial constraints. They often ignore, tribal driven electoral cycles of those governments that hold the key to success or failure. Africa's history is replete with examples of African leaders having their pockets lined by non-Black African cronies and crooks, allowed to Rip Off en-masse, the poverty stricken Black peoples of their Nations. See: How Deloitte, McKinsey, the Guptas and SAP Ripped Off Eskom • Brightwork | SAP Analysis

In 2020, Africa's huge indebtedness to China is a result of China financing overpriced mega Infrastructure projects that are built to service China's economic and geopolitical strategic interests at the expense of Africa losing its precious raw materials. This inconvenient truth, brightly highlights where the need to build shared commitments to shared risks, is often overlooked, resulting in rarely positive outcomes for many African nations.

See: What China is Really Up To in Africa ;Figure of the week: China’s ‘hidden’ lending in Africa ; As Africa Groans Under Debt, It Casts Wary Eye at China ; Chinese Debt Relief: Fact and Fiction ; China in the driver's seat amid calls for Africa debt relief

African governments too often lack common sense, critical thinking and analysis; a kaleidoscope perspective of self-serving international politics; a profound visionary understanding of global economic trends and adequately resourced financial capacity to translate masterfully derived and produced infrastructure plans into bankable projects that will attract private or public financing and come to fruition successfully, without leaving their nations strapped with long-term, eye-popping-generational-debt.

For African nations' commitments to "Power Africa" to translate into tangible megawatts and/or electrical powered connections, what is desperately needed in Africa is sincere, well-informed, honest and efficient and effect governments that can and will design and enforce the reforms required to create the right regulatory and economic environments with the least amount of corruption and malfeasance. 

African governments must possess the Internal capability, capacity and independent determination to prioritize and drive the delivery of the Right Projects that are commensurate with their best, long-term economic, healthcare and social interests.

In my humble opinion, more than political will or money, the crux of the challenge for many African governments is that, the herculean effort to "Power Africa" requires uncompromising honesty and integrity to exist in every corridor, corner and crack of all levels of Governance. Equally, the herculean effort requires proven applicable expertise and proven applicable knowledge and under-fire-produced-experience that's often not present in key African institutions. 

By David Graham

[email protected]

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