World Bank Group member IFC is to study the feasibility of the Sounda power project in the Republic of the Congo after signing a project services agreement with the country’s government.

IFC will consider a range of scenarios for establishing a hydro dam and power plant at Sounda Gorge on the Kouilou river, and will undertake detailed engineering, environmental, social, and market studies, and a legal analysis.

"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," adeed 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. Options for developing the project will also be considered, including through public procurement and public-private partnerships.