by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 05, 2014
The World Bank said Wednesday that it remained in support of the Inga III Congo River hydroelectric project, despite postponing an official board review of financial support.
World Bank spokesman David Theis said the development lender is "fully committed" to the 4,800 megawatt power project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, noting it "has the potential to improve the lives of millions of Africans."
Theis said that the presentation to the Bank's board of a proposed $73 million technical assistance package related to the project's design, originally scheduled for February 11, had been postponed.
A new date for review has not been set.
"But the project has not been cancelled, and our commitment to Inga III is unchanged," he told AFP.
The huge project near Matadi would divert Congo River waters into a 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) channel and then pass them through a 100-meter (330-foot) high hydropower dam on the Bundi Valley before releasing the water back into the river.
The intake would be above the existing Inga I and Inga II dams, and the outflow downstream from both.
The project would boost power supplies to a region starved for electricity.
But social and environmental groups have called for more studies, saying the power is mainly for industrial users in South Africa and that renewable energy possibilities should be weighed.
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