Energy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was a net energy exporter in 2008. Most energy was consumed domestically in 2008. According to the IEA statistics the energy export was in 2008 small and less than from the Republic of Congo.[1] 2010 population figures were 3.8 million for the RC compared to CDR 67.8 Million. In both countries journalists and media were threatened by the authorities.[2]

Human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have influenced the energy markets and economy. On 1 October 2010 the UN reported on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the DRC between March 1993 and June 2003. The report raised hopes of justice for crimes. In the International Criminal Court (ICC) are cases against using children under the age of 15 for the armed group and against ex Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba charged with crimes against humanity.[2]


The Democratic Republic of the Congo has reserves of petroleum, natural gas, coal, and a potential hydroelectric power generating capacity of around 100,000 MW. The Inga Dam, alone on the Congo River, has the potential capacity to generate 40,000 to 45,000 MW of electric power, sufficient to supply the electricity needs of the whole Southern Africa region. Ongoing uncertainties in the political arena, and a resulting lack of interest from investors has meant that the Inga dam's potential has been limited.

In 2001, the dam was estimated to have an installed generating capacity of 2,473 MW. It is estimated that the dam is capable of producing no more than 650–750 MW, because two-thirds of the facility's turbines do not work. There are plans to raise the Inga power station to 44,000 MW capacity by 2010. The African Development bank has agreed to supply $8 million towards it. The government has also agreed to strength the Inga-kolwezi and Inga-South Africa interconnections and to construct a 2nd power line to supply power to Kinshasa.

If harvested to its full potential, the hydroelectricity could provide power for the whole of Africa.

In 2007, the DROC had a gross production of public and self-produced electricity of 8,302 million kWh. The DROC imported 78 million kWh of electricity in 2007. The DROC is also an exporter of electric power. In 2003, electric power exports came to 1.3 TWh, with power transmitted to the Republic of Congo and its capital, Brazzaville, as well as to Zambia and South Africa. There is are plant to build the Western Power Corridor (Westcor) to supply electricity from Inga III hydroelectric power plant to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

The national power company is Société nationale d'électricité (SNEL).

Only 6% of the country has access to electricity.[3] As of 2003, 98.2% of electricity was produced by hydroelectric power.[4]


The DROC has crude oil reserves that are second only to Angola's in southern Africa. As of 2009, the DROC’s crude oil reserves came to 180 million barrels (29,000,000 m3). In 2008, the DROC produced 19,960 barrels (3,173 m3) of oil per day and consumed 11,000 barrels per day (1,700 m3/d). As of 2007, the DROC exported 20,090 barrels per day (3,194 m3/d) and imported 11,350 barrels per day (1,805 m3/d).

In 2007, the DROC produced 836,000 metric tons of crude petroleum, exported 836,000 metric tons and had a reserve of 25,000,000 metric tons. The DROC had no refining capacity as of January 1, 2005, and must import refined petroleum products. In 2002, imports of refined petroleum products totaled 8,180 barrels per day (1,301 m3/d).

Oil product imports consist of gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, aviation gas, fuel oil, and liquefied petroleum gas. Oil products are exported and imported by Cohydro. As of 2008, the DROC had natural gas reserves of 991.1 million cu m. There was no production, consumption or importation or exportation of natural gas. Galaxy Moriah Oil is the government contracted supplier of oil for the DROC.[5]


As of July 2005, the DROC is reported to have coal reserves of 97 million short tons. Domestic coal production and consumption in 2003 totaled 0.11 million short tons and 0.26 million shorts tons, respectively.[6]

Renewable energy (other than hydroelectric)

ICTs for climate change mitigation One of the UN Millennium Development Goals is to make the benefits of new technologies - especially information and communications technologies (ICTs) – available to both industrialized nations and developing regions. In light of these goals, several projects have been founded by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and other organisations in order to explore ICTs and climate change.

Climate Change Legislation

DRC has no national climate change policy and strategy which can present the DRC’s current and future efforts to effectively address its climate change vulnerability and adaptation. It currently relies on environment-related policies and action plans to implement climate change initiatives and activities. Nevertheless, several NGOs and donor agencies have been active in the DRC to develop an administrative structure to address the needs of environmental protection and natural resources management.

The DRC is in a very high level sun belt that makes the installation of photovoltaic systems and the use of thermal solar systems viable throughout the country. Currently there are 836 solar power systems, with a total power of 83 kW, located in Equateur (167), Katanga (159), Nord-Kivu (170), the two Kasaï provinces (170), and Bas-Congo (170). There is also the 148 Caritas network system, with a total power of 6.31 kW7. The potential for further solar development is high.[7]

The DRC has a wide diversity of natural resources, allowing it to consider a significant growth in hydro, wind and solar energy. It has been called "a virtual continent." For the first time in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has adopted an interactive atlas of renewable energy sources.

This Atlas was created by the UNDP, Netherlands Development Organization SNV, and the Congolese Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity. It has 600 interactive maps and informs policymaking on decentralizing energy and encourages further renewable energy investments.[8]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

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