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August 25, 2015

Howard Buffett Nonprofit Invests Millions in Congo Hydropower

Howard Buffett is placing a big bet on hydroelectricity to spur development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, pledging nearly $60 million for power projects in the war-torn central African nation, Reuters writes.

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation is putting up $19.7 million for construction of a hydropower plant in the country's North Kivu province, aiming to overcome chronic power shortages that hold back development. Mr. Buffett has committed another $39 million for two more plants envisioned in an ambitious investment program crafted by Congo's national parks agency and the British-based Virunga Foundation.

"Hydro plants are really the game changer," said Mr. Buffett, whose foundation has pumped $200 million over two decades into central and eastern Africa's Great Lakes region. "It provides jobs, it provides new resources, new investment. It helps keep people from cutting the trees down for charcoal in the forests. So it's like a win, win, win."

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy interview with Howard Buffett and his son, Howard W. Buffett, about their giving philosophy.