In August 2011, the 10 million residents of Kinshasa worked and slept in a thick haze of diesel fumes pumped from thousands of generators running around the clock. The pollution, though, wasn’t the main worry for most in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was what the fumes reflected: the lack of power. During that August, the two hydroelectric dams on the Congo River that served as the country’s major source of electricity were stymied by a combination of broken equipment and unusually low water levels.
The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy.
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