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December 15, 2009

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Black Mage

You mention that the Congolese government is incompetent. I think we can all concede that -- although Kabila the Younger is, sadly, probably the best leader Congo's ever had (but, really, CALIGULA would be the best leader the Congo has ever had.) Based on your experiences in Africa, how does the Congolese government stack up against its continental compatriots -- is it the worst you've yet seen?

Tzintzuntzan

I don't know enough to answer this, but...would "small, affordable dams in Katanga" actually be affordable for the Congolese government?

Another question I don't know the answer to: would there be any political fallout from small dams in Katanga, in that only some regions benefit? Especially since Mobutu was notorious for linking development to loyalty, and the Kabilas are Katangese. (The question isn't whether people would like it -- they wouldn't -- but whether their not liking it would matter.)

Lorraine-m-thompson

Actually, although the framework for the transmission system appears to be there it isn't. Many of the towers/lines across the country have been stripped (some more completely than others) and the materials used for everything from toys to pots, etc.

The construction of the Grand Inga dam would be such a devastating idea at this point in time that it doesn't even bear thinking about--although given the push by Eskom, EIB, World Bank, AFDB, NEPAD, etc, Westcor, etc, etc, etc it has to be addressed. Don't get me wrong: I fully appreciate the positive correlation between electricity and economic and social development. However, before the Congo River or any of its tributaries (there have been talks about diverting the Ubangi river to feed into Lake Chad) are exploited the Congolese government needs to develop and implement a long-ranged national water sector plan as well as an energy development plan among other things. Smaller hydro dams strategically place, implementation of other clean renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, etc) need to be considered long before Grand Inga.

And there have been a number of small hydro dams put into place by private industries as well as local government officials throughout the DRC (sorry I don't have my notes readily available to give specific examples).

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