SA MIGHT escape its hasty and costly decision to lead the financial package needed to kickstart the stalled Inga 3 Hydroelectric scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).The project, on the Congo River, is a proposed component of the five-dam Grand Inga hydro colossus, and it might never happen. A treaty signed between the DRC’s President Joseph Kabila and his counterpart Jacob Zuma in 2013 commits SA to buying 2,500MW of the scheme’s 4,800MW output. In other words, the treaty is a power-purchase agreement that binds SA to a huge financial liability to help the dam to be built. Assuming 90% availability, SA’s uptake with normal maintenance and no droughts would be worth about $500m-$600m a year.The life of the treaty is 10 years, giving it a total face value of $5bn-6bn.Transmission losses en-route would be considerable, and it is unclear who pays for these. However, in terms of the treaty the dam must be completed by 2021, failing which the agreement becomes void.It now...

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