The Republic of the Congo has been taking great strides in developing its national infrastructure. In 2012, President Denis Sassou Nguesso began an initiative to put the whole country on the electrical grid. With cooperation from the Chinese, the Republic of the Congo has built the Imboulou hydroelectric dam, which has led to the construction of high-voltage power stations in Djiri, Ngo, Gamboma, Oyo, Boundji, Owando and Djambala, as well as an underground line in Tsilampo and nine aerial lines spanning 242 km in length. Congo has secured agreements with Cameroon for the construction of a hydroelectric plant on the River Tcha and with Gabon for interconnecting their fiber optic communications networks.
With this month’s BUILD Africa summit in Brazzaville, more infrastructural development is sure to come. But President Nguesso—amid all this economic progress—is not forgetting one of the most crucial aspects of the country: the environment. Dense rainforests cover much of the Republic of the Congo, comprising the second largest rainforest in the world. Therefore, climate change is a major concern that the country must confront in an ever industrializing world. This is why the Republic of the Congo has established the “Congo Carbon” initiative.
The Congo Carbon initiative is a forward thinking, long-term project to establish a renewable energy sector, mainly by creating industrial carbon from forest residues. With aid from the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Company (Faber), who is financing 10% of the initiative, the Republic of the Congo will sequester 2.7 million tons of carbon over the next 21 years. The goal of this project is to promote sustainable development and cut back on greenhouse gas production.
The Republic of the Congo’s “Congo Carbon” initiative is part of a continent-wide push for environmentally friendly economic and infrastructural policies. Faber is looking for investors on a global scale to work with African nations to realize the goal of sustainable, green economies. The Republic of the Congo has taken a leadership role in this drive for green economies. At the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Henri Djombo—Congolese Minister in charge of sustainable development, forestry economy and environment—urged his fellow African nations to develop green policies. Thanks to groups like Faber and the Green Fund for Africa, created by the African Development Bank, there is great opportunity for creating an environmentally African economy.
Djombo has pointed out that there are a number of opportunities created through the development of green economies, crossing many sectors: ecotourism, biofuel production, renewable energy, sustainable management of forests as well as ecologically sustainable agriculture. For the Republic of the Congo, their Congo Carbon project has been planned for a two-phase process. They are going to generate carbon from waste products and plant forests where, at the moment, there are none.