Electricity and Hydroelectric Plants

Congo has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world at just over 9%, with 1% in rural areas and 19% in urban areas. The country hosts large hydrology reserves and has a potential to install up to 100,000 MW of hydropower capacity. With an ambition of providing 65% electrification in 2025 and universal access by 2050, the Congo is facing issues in governance, electric utility performance, effective policymaking and implementation of existing plans. Two small hydroelectric plants financed by The European Union and by Howard Buffett, a son of the billionaire businessman Warren Buffett—have begun operating in Virunga Park on the Congo-Rwanda border. Four more are planned near the park. The small scale power plants are crucial to an ambitious attempt not only to protect Virunga—Africa’s oldest national park—from threats including armed militias, deforestation and oil prospectors, but to jump-start the local economy and potentially help stabilize one of the world’s worst conflict zones.