The World Bank has injected the amount of $340 m to Rusumo Falls Hydropower Plant that is expected to benefit East African Countries including Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.
Out of the $340 m approved, World Bank is financing part of the amount of about $113.30 to Rwanda and similarly to the other two countries.
The Director, Strategy, Operations and Regional Integration Colin Bruce said “This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in the three countries.”
He explained that by connecting grids, people and environmentally sensitive solutions, the project will help to catalyze growth and to encourage peace and stability in the sub-region.
The move is so far the first in operation under the World Bank Group Great Lakes Regional Initiative inaugurated by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim during his historic joint visit with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May 2013.
The Rusumo Project is expected to provide 80 megawatt generation capacity that will boost reliable power supply to the electricity grids of the three countries in the region.
“The Project takes a regional approach to tackling Sub-Saharan Africa’s power crisis, providing low-cost, clean, renewable energy to people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” says Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region.
“The new power plant signals the Bank’s commitment to keeping the lights on across the African continent, necessary for achieving growth, ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity in the region.”
Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project anchored in the World Bank Group will strengthen the capacity of the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) and its emergence as a regional center of excellence.
The overall project cost is $468.60 m will reduce electricity costs, promote renewable power, spur job-led economic development and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation, peace and stability among the countries of the Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) sub-region in east Africa.
The project’s regional approach to infrastructure development will help to lower costs, enable joint management of the hydropower generation and transmission system, and demonstrate mutual benefits attainable by sharing of river waters as a catalyst for greater economic integration.
The World Bank Team Leader for the project and Senior Energy Specialist, Paul Baringanire said the hydroelectric project provides a fresh opportunity to unlock energy potential in the Great Lakes region, while safeguarding the environment
“We look forward to speedy implementation so that the idea of sharing natural resources for mutual benefits becomes a reality and helps to build peace, stability and economic opportunity for all communities in the Great Lakes region,” baringanire added.
Only four percent of the population in Burundi has access to electricity while Tanzania has 15 percent.
Rwanda during 2013 unveiled Rwf3 trillion ($4.7bn) plan for energy production and accessibility over the next five years.
The Rusumo falls energy project comes at the time the government of Rwanda targets to tap 215MW from peat, 310MW from geothermal, 320MW from hydro power, and 300MW from methane gas, among others.
Currently Rwanda produces 110.8MW equivalent to 16 per cent in terms of domestic accessibility. With 1, 000MW, accessibility could reach 70 per cent.
In 2011, World Bank helped to provide electricity to an additional 1.4 million people in African countries; construct and repair some 6,640 kilometers of roads; and improved water supplies for more than 8 million people.
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest financing and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 1.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Between 2003 and 2013, IDA provided $256 billion in financing for 3,787 projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.