South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have signed a crucial treaty on the Grand Inga hydropower project, which could eventually become the largest hydroelectric project in the world, with the potential to power half of the continent.
President Jacob Zuma made the announcement earlier on Tuesday while addressing the Parliament of the DRC, where he arrived, accompanied by a strong ministerial and business delegation, for a two-day state visit.
Zuma said that the signing treaty was a major step towards the realisation of the long-cherished dream of the people of the DRC.
“I must convey how particularly pleased and excited I am by the progress taking place towards the realisation of the Grand Inga Hydropower Project. This incredible feat of human ingenuity, when completed, will have the capacity to power Africa and indeed to export electricity beyond the continent.”
The Grand Inga project will seek to harness the power potential of the Congo River, sub-Saharan Africa’s greatest waterway.
“South Africa is extremely proud to be working so closely with the DRC in realising this accomplishment,” Zuma said. “This represents one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken on the African continent, and one which will long be a resounding symbol of the rise of Africa and her people.”
Zuma said it has always been South Africa’s firm belief that in order to overcome poverty and to achieve prosperity through development, it was imperative that the essential preconditions of peace, security, and stability were first put in place.
He said South Africa remained deeply concerned by the enduring conflict in eastern DRC, perpetrated by local and externally supported armed groups on innocent Congolese civilians, and stood in solidarity with the DRC in overcoming this serious challenge.
“We deplore the devastating loss of life, the human suffering, the displacement of more than a million civilians and the damage to property which this intolerable situation has resulted in. I extend the deepest sympathy of the people of South Africa to the Congolese people for the hardship they continue to endure as a result of this conflict.”
Zuma commended the government of the DRC on its efforts in the Kampala talks aimed at ending the conflict. “Together, we united in sending the message that for too long have the people of the DRC endured the incalculable suffering as a result of recurrent cycles of conflict.
“Enough is enough. The time for peace is now, and to those who would challenge this for their own self-interests, we stand firm in the message that your time is now up, lay down your arms, as no longer will the misery you inflict be tolerated.”
Story Source: SAnews.gov.za
Picture Source: GCIS