The feasibility of developing a 1000 MW hydropower project at the Sounda Gorge in the Republic of the Congo will be investigated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The IFC has signed a project services agreement with the Republic of the Congo’s government to assess the proposed project, which would help the country to address its power shortages.

IFC, the World Bank’s private sector arm, will undertake detailed engineering, environmental, social, and market studies as well as a legal analysis of the project on the Kouilou River.

"The development of this new source of reliable, and renewable, energy is a priority for the Government of the Republic of the Congo. It will encourage new investment and contribute to filling energy needs that accelerate social and economic development," said Jean-Jacques Bouya, the Congolese Minister of Spatial Planning.

"IFC’s agreement with the Republic of Congo is an important first step in assessing the viability of the Sounda hydropower project," said Jean Philippe Prosper, Vice President for IFC Global Client Services. "We have agreed with the government to assess the potential of the project to deliver significant long-term developmental outcomes, while minimizing environmental or social impacts."

IFC will carry out the studies over the next 18 months, providing critical information to help the government determine the most appropriate size for the project based on environmental and social considerations and the amount of electricity that can be absorbed by offtakers. IFC will consider options for developing the project, including through public procurement and public-private partnerships.

Sian Crampsie