DR Congo's finance minister visits China

15:24, July 15, 2010      

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The Finance Minister for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) Matata Ponyo Mapon left Kinshasa on Wednesday for a working visit to China.

According to officials from his office, Matata will finalize with his Chinese counterparts the agreement on construction of Zongo II hydroelectric dam in Bas Congo province.

An accord protocol for the construction of the said hydroelectric power station was signed in Kinshasa in April 2009 between the Congolese government which was represented by the Energy Minister Laurent Muzangisa and the director general of a Chinese company Sinohydro Wang Anquan.

It was agreed that the construction works were to be financed by the Chinese government to the tune of 350 million U.S. dollars.

With capacity to produce 150 megawatts, Zongo II will reinforce electricity generation from this dam which had the first dam (Zongo I) constructed by Belgium during the colonial period.

Zongo I was constructed to generate power to the capital Kinshasa which at the moment had a population of 400,000 people. The capital now has close to 7 million inhabitants and DR Congo's National Electricity Company (SNEL) hardly satisfies the power requirements of the city.

Despite the construction of Inga I and II dams in the 1970s, majority of the people in the capital still live in darkness.

The dams have been generating only 20 percent of their expected power production due to poor maintenance. Currently, only 6 percent of DR Congo's population has access to electricity.



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