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    Two Congos sign energy deal


    December 7, 2021 - AFP World News

     

      The two Congos have agreed a joint energy project to meet growing demands for power in the poor central African region.

      The agreement, signed Monday, aims to implement a so-called "Energy Friendship Loop" linking Congo-Brazzaville and the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo.

      "A first phase will consist of strengthening the transmission capacities of the lines between the Congo power station in Pointe-Noire and the Inga hydroelectric power plant in the DRC via Brazzaville," the protocol said.

      Pointe-Noire is a key port and Atlantic oil hub in the southwest of Congo-Brazzaville, lying more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) east of Kinshasa.

      "Several phases of increasing the production capacity of electric power and the construction of associated transmission lines" will follow, said the memorandum of understanding signed in the presence of President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville and his DRC counterpart Felix Tshisekedi.

      The production capacity of the plant in Pointe-Noire is anticipated to increase from 484 to 750 megawatts, then 1,000 megawatts thanks to natural gas produced by the Italian energy company Eni.

      Despite investments in the sector and an increase in installed capacity over the past 20 years, from 89 to more than 800 megawatts, blackouts and load shedding occur daily in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.

      The same applies in the DRC, which is also looking to boost production.

      According to the signatories, the energy friendship loop will feed several high and very high voltage lines intended to supply power notably to mining industries in the DRC, especially in southern Katanga.

      The territory, rich in minerals from cobalt to uranium and diamonds, was divided into five provinces in 2015.

      The accord was concluded for an indefinite period, subject to an evaluation every five years. No indication was provided on the cost of the project.

      In a joint declaration, the presidents of the two Congos invited the other countries of the region to join this "integrative project".

      lmm/at/nb/gd

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