There are high hopes about the impact of the Grand Inga hydropower project which is expected to go a long way in alleviating the power crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. According to Anita George, a senior director with the World Bank Group, the project in the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be the world’s largest hydropower scheme, producing some 44 000 megawatts of electricity when completed. With a price tag of around $80 billion it is, however, not a cheap solution. Speaking at the recent Mining Indaba in Cape Town, George said the World Bank was currently working on several projects around the hydropower scheme and was optimistic about the impact it would have on the continent. The project, which is being constructed over several phases, will also see some 2500 megawatts of power exported to South Africa. “There will also be dedicated amounts of megawatts from Inga for the mining sector,” said George. Two existing dams, Inga 1 and 2, have been in operation since 1972 and 1982 respectively, together generating nearly 1 800 megawatts. The next phase of the Grand Inga project, Inga 3, is expected to cost in the region of US$12 bn on its own and will produce around 4 800 megawatts of electricity. Subsequent phases, adding up to an eventual total capacity of 44 000 MW, will allow countries in southern Africa, north-east Africa and parts of west Africa to benefit from production at the site. George said Inga was however a long-term project and would not solve the immediate power problems of the region. “That is why the World Bank is presently looking at several smaller projects that can be developed far more quickly and can meet the immediate power needs.