The World Bank has approved a $73.1m (€52.9m) grant for the Democratic Republic of Congo's Inga 3 Basse Chute (BC) and mid-size hydropower development technical assistance project.
The grant is being provided by the World Bank's soft-loan affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA).
Last year the African Development Bank has approved $33.4m (€24.2m) for the hydropower project.
The funding will assist in establishing the Inga Development Authority that select the concessionaire and negotiate power purchase agreements on the Inga site of the Congo River and also negotiate power purchase agreements.
World Bank said that the grant will support technical, environmental and social studies to develop the Inga 3 BC and selected mid-size hydropower projects sustainably.
DRC Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon said that Inga 3 BC is certainly the most transformative project for Africa in the 21st century, while it is one of the strategic pillars of development for the DRC, that needs energy to expand growth and reduce poverty in a sustainable way.
"The World Bank Group's involvement in this project reinforces its mission to fight poverty, and its ongoing commitment to help the Congolese government in its goal to move the country along the path to a strong development future," Mapon said.
Under the Inga 3 BC project, around a sixth of the flow of the Congo River would be diverted into the Bundi Valley.
A dam on the Bundi River would create a 15.5km² reservoir and Inga 3 BC does not include a dam on the Congo River itself.
The Inga hydropower project has a capacity to generate up to 40GW.
Congo's national utility, SNEL, will purchase 1GW of electricity produced from Inga 3 BC for commercial distribution to households and small businesses in the capital Kinshasa.
Of the total power produced, it proposed that 2,500MW would be sold to South Africa while another 1.3GW would be earmarked for use by mines and related industry in the province of Katanga.
World Bank vice-president for Africa Makhtar Diop said, "By being involved in the development of Inga 3 BC from an early stage we can help ensure that its development is done right so it can be a game changer by providing electricity to millions of people and powering commerce and industry.
"Supporting transformative projects that expand people's access to electricity is central to achieving the World Bank Group's twin goals of helping to end extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity."
Image: World Bank supports Inga 3 BC hydropower development in Congo. Photo: courtesy of markuso/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.