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The World Bank Group’s private sector financing arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) has partnered with other investors in the African renewable energy market to scale up clean energy production capacity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other investors in the large-scale solar power plant include Globeleq, Greenshare Energy, Greenshare Congo, Nzuri Energy, and Volt Renewables.
The independent power producer (IPP) project is a planned 100 MW of solar PV plant that will be developed near the city of Kolwezi, located in the Lualaba province of the country. The electricity produced will be sold to SNEL, the national electric company of DRC. This will support the mining operations and economic activity in the region, as Kolwezi is itself a mining town and Lualaba province has a large deposit of minerals.
The solar project was originally led by Greenshare Energy, Greenshare Congo, Nzuri Energy, and Volt Renewable. IFC along with Globeleq joined the project in order to accelerate its development. All the partners in this project will launch a special purpose company to build the future solar PV plant. The construction work of the plant will begin in 2023 and is expected to get completed within 12 months.
As a major shareholder, IFC will provide USD 0.9 million for the development phase of the project through its Collaborative and Eco-Development Finance Program. IFC will further provide another funding of up to USD 0.9 million from the Finland-IFC Blended Finance for Climate Program to support the project’s development costs.
Sylvain Kakou, IFC Country Manager for Central Africa said, “Ramping up energy production capacity in the DRC is essential to increasing economic growth and improving living standards in the country. IFC is proud to provide early-stage growth capital to this ground-breaking project, which will deliver clean and competitive power in a region where it is currently in limited supply.”
According to the World Bank’s data, nearly 80% of the population in DRC still does not have access to electricity. The country has a pressing need for investment in its power sector to meet its increasing industrial demand and production deficit. The investment by IFC in the 100 MWp solar project sustains its commitment to innovative early-stage energy projects and the strengthening DRC government’s efforts to increase and diversify its power generation.
The future solar power plant will be a landmark renewable energy project for the DRC that will catalyze its nascent independent renewable energy industry, increasing the level of electrification in the country.