SA, DRC meet to finalise Grand Inga Project Treaty

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pretoria - Energy Minister Dipuo Peters is to participate in a workshop on Thursday that will work towards the finalisation of the Grand Inga Project Treaty in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The project has the potential to supply clean and cost effective hydroelectric power to meet the needs of the DRC and surrounding or nearby countries, including South Africa.

The project entails the development of approximately 40 000MW of hydropower on the Congo River in the DRC which may be developed in several stand-alone phases.

The purpose of the treaty was to develop an enabling framework, linking the DRC and South Africa into the Grand Inga Project, and allowing for the two countries to jointly explore different economically feasible options for the development of the project.

The two-day workshop is being held in Lumbumbashi where Peters will hold a bilateral meeting with her counterpart Minister of Hydro Resources and Electricity in the DRC Bruno Kapanji Kalala.

On 12 November 2011, South Africa and the DRC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Article 3 of the signed MoU provided for the drafting of the Grand Inga Project Treaty between the two countries within six months of the signing of the MoU.

In developing the MoU, the Department of Energy  consulted with the Departments of International Relations and Coordination, Trade and Industry, National Treasury, Economic Development and Public Enterprise as well as power parastatal Eskom.

Following extensive consultation, a draft Grand Inga Treaty was developed and approved by Cabinet.

In August 2012, the treaty was submitted to the DRC after the appointment of the Kalala. In October 2012, Kalala and Peters held a meeting in South Africa to discuss the treaty.

The third meeting between South Africa and the DRC to negotiate on the draft treaty was envisaged as the last meeting to finalise outstanding differences with respect to issues such as governance of the project, financial issues and the rights and obligations of the partners of the draft Treaty.

The two ministers subsequently held a bilateral meeting in the DRC on 6 February this year.

“The two ministers indicated that their negotiating teams must meet in Lumbumbashi from 28 February to 6 March 2013 and finalise the treaty. Both ministers would then have a bilateral meeting in the DRC on 7 and 8 March 2013 to finalise the text of the treaty to be submitted to representative governments,” Energy spokesperson Thandiwe Maimane said on Wednesday.

The project will form part of South Africa's government strategy to promote renewable energy in the region, contribute to a reduction of carbon emissions, ensure security of supply and to develop energy infrastructure on the continent and the SADC region in particular. -