The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi has called for regional cooperation to tackle water and energy problems in Africa.
Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum in Rwanda, Tshisekedi asked the Great Lakes countries to concentrate on common interests such as exploitation of methane gas at Lake Kivu, which is on the Rwandan side close to the DRC border, and hydroelectric power at River Rusisi to help the countries diversify their economies.
Mr. Tshisekedi, said DRC could play a major role in offering a solution to the cause.
In February, Rwanda signed a US$400 million deal to produce bottled gas from Lake Kivu. The project spearheaded by Gasmeth Energy would suck gas from the lake’s deep floor and bottle it for use as fuel.
He hinted at the readiness of DRC to offer its resources and opportunities to other African countries, pointing out that Congo River, in particular, could alleviate disputes on the River Nile, such as that pitting Ethiopia and Egypt over the construction of the Grand Renaissance dam.
Congo River, through the Inga dam, plans to bring through 44,000 megawatts of power in eight phases the first of which has started.
DRC has 100 other sites that can generate another 16,000 megawatts. “If developed, this energy can be distributed across Africa, helping address the energy deficit that hinders industrialisation and resolve water wars such as that over the Nile,” he said.
Mr Tshisekedi said water from Congo River, would be pumped to replenish Lake Chad through the Transaqua Project, whose basin supports more than 20 million people.
During his visit to Rwanda, Mr Tshisekedi and Mr Kagame opened a new era in Rwanda-DRC relations by focusing on regional integration and stability which are key to unlocking the potential in the Great Lake’s region.
Both Presidents issued concluding remarks which showed the willingness to transcend conflicts in the region and aim at prosperity and peace.