BRAZZAVILLE, 4 August (IRIN) - Construction began on Wednesday of a 32.5 megawatt power generator in the Republic of Congo's (ROC) capital, Brazzaville, to alleviate the city's acute power shortages.
The 12-month project will cost some 21 billion francs CFA (approx US $40 million), the Ministry of Energy and Hydraulics said.
A Belgian company, Anglo Belgian Corporation, is building the generator. The government of Belgium loaned the country one-third of the money, or 6.8 billion francs (Approx $13 million).
Only 49 percent of the country's urban population and 35 percent of the rural population have access to electricity, according to government figures.
In 2003, the government began building a hydroelectric dam in Imboulou, 215 km north of Brazzaville, the capital. It is to provide 120 megawatts of power but is not expected to go on line until 2008. [On the Net: CONGO: Power shortfall a nightmare for Brazzaville residents: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=46894 ]
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