The twisted tale of Inga 3

An aerial view of the existing semi-functional Inga dam on the Congo River. A new dam, the Grand Inga Dam, is being proposed and is currently the world’s largest hydropower scheme. Photo by: International Rivers / CC BY-NC-SA

In the lush southwest corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a massive dam project on one of Africa’s largest rivers has created a twisted tale of political maneuvering and heated debates on the tradeoffs of economic development that has tripped up foreign aid leaders in Washington as they decide whether to support a project that is hailed as a solution to Africa’s “energy poverty.”

World Bank President Jim Kim says the project, known as the Inga 3 base chute, the next step in what would become the largest hydropower complex in history, is exactly the type of “bold” initiative a revamped and reenergized World Bank ought to support, and he is vying for U.S. support.

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About the authors

  • Igoe michael 1

    Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.
  • Paul stephens 400x400

    Paul Stephens

    Paul Stephens is a Devex staff writer based in Washington, D.C. His coverage focuses on Latin America and World Bank affairs, as well as Washington's global development scene. As a multimedia journalist, editor and producer, Paul has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Washington Monthly, CBS Evening News, GlobalPost and the United Nations magazine, among other outlets. He's won a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for a 5-month, in-depth reporting project in Yemen after two stints in Georgia - one as a Peace Corps volunteer and another as a communications coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.