US to contribute funds to hydroelectric dam in remote Congo, though size of investment unclear

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The head of the United States aid agency visited the site of a hydroelectric dam being built on the banks of the Congo River, saying that the U.S. plans to invest in the project to harness the mighty river's energy to electrify this impoverished region.

Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. development agency, told reporters the new dam is part of President Barack Obama's "Power Africa" initiative, based on the principle that everyone should have access to electricity. Currently only around 9 percent of Congo's 66 million people have access to power.

According to a study carried out by the World Bank, the Inga III dam will cost $12 billion dollars. Shah said the U.S. plans to contribute, though he did not specify how much.