The $14 billlion Inga 3 power project in the Democratic Republic of Congo could be in jeopardy after the World Bank suspended its funding.
The lender said on Monday that it withdrew its funding following disagreements over the “strategic direction” of the project.
“This follows the Government of DRC’s decision to take the project in a different strategic direction to that agreed between the World Bank and the government in 2014,” the lender said in a statement.
In 2014, World Bank had approved a $ 73.1 million grant for the first phase of the mega hydro power project and went ahead to disburse 6 percent of the funding.
At stake, is a project that has the capacity to generate a record 44,000 MW of electricity at a cost of nearly $100 billion upon completion and could power half of Africa ,while some say it will be the largest dam in the world.
Inga 3 which sits on Congo River has had false starts due to red tape and disagreements between the Congolese government and its partners on the project.
However, Congo’s government remains confident that the project will continue adding that construction is expected to begin in June next year and last for about 5 years.
“It’s nothing serious, Inga is a private- public partnership… the process continues,” said Bruno Kapandji the head of the government agency overseeing the Inga 3 project.
Two rival consortiums one led by China Three Gorges Corporation and the other includes Spanish engineering giant Activdades de Construccion y Servicios SA, are expected to submit their final bids on Sunday.
Campaigners also argue that much of the power to be generated by the power project is set to be exported or used to support big industries like mining, rather that benefiting the Congolese population.
Congo’s government had agreed to deliver 2,500 MW of electricity to South Africa by 2021.