Plans for future development on the river Inga include the 40GW Grand Inga complex, which would be the biggest in the world, and the relatively smaller but still major Inga III project which would have an installed capacity of 4,320MW.

AfDB said work on the studies is expected to begin this year and be completed in 2010. The studies will be supervised by DRC’s National Electricity Corp (SNEL), which will be assisted by Africa Power Tools.

In addition, a steering committee is to be set up that includes government and utility representatives.

At the end of last year the bank approved a grant of US$58M to help rehabilitate the Inga I & II plants, which were built in 1970 and 1982, respectively.

Last month, talks took place in London under the auspices of the World Energy Council (WEC) to examine the finance aspects of further development of the hydropower potential on the river Inga, including the rehabilitation needs. The talks were attended by governments, utilities, banks, consultants and equipment suppliers.