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USTDA INAUGURAL GRANT IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO PROMOTES POWER SECTOR DEVELOPMENT

KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (October 18, 2007) – Reflecting the U.S. commitment to support the democratically elected government and to develop the necessary infrastructure for economic growth, USTDA is pleased to announce the award of its inaugural grant in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The grant will be used to assess the potential to build a proposed hydropower facility at the Nzilo 2 site in Katanga Province.

A ceremony to announce the award of the $553,534 grant to Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL), the state-owned electric company was held at the American Cultural Center in Kinshasa on October 12th. U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in the DRC Samuel Brock announced the grant award. SNEL Managing Director Yengo Massampu welcomed the opportunity that the USTDA grant affords for collaboration on the project.

Currently, the DRC is faced with significant power shortages as it strives to reconstruct its economy after an extended period of conflict. The DRC is often described as the future electricity backbone of Africa, with a hydropower potential estimated at 100,000 MW. However, much of this potential remains undeveloped and SNEL is seeking investors to encourage further development on a public-private partnership basis. The proposed hydropower facility at Nzilo 2 has the capacity to produce up to 100 MW of electricity and is one of the more promising sites for development. The USTDA-funded study will establish the feasibility of the site and will include financial analyses and an implementation roadmap.

A link to the announcement about the opportunity to assist SNEL under the USTDA grant announced today will be posted on USTDA’s website at www.ustda.gov. Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the announcement. SNEL will select the U.S. firm that will provide the assistance.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair, open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

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