Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi are to benefit from a $97.3 million loan approved by African Development Bank Group to finance electricity project in Rusumo Falls
| By Maureen Chigbo | Dec. 9, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THREE countries namely Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are to benefit from the African Development Bank Group, AfDB’s and Nigeria Trust Fund for the financing of electricity project in the Rusumo Falls. The Rusumo Falls project is to improve sustainable energy supply and access in Africa. The board of directors of the AfDB approved $97.3 million to finance the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydropower project from the African Development Fund, ADF, and the Nigeria Trust Fund. The project will support the development of sustainable energy infrastructure. An additional $16 million grant from the Sustainable Energy for All, SE4All, window of the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund was recently mobilised by the AfDB Group to help finance part of the Burundi transmission line from the Rusumo Falls power plant.
The Rusumo Falls project will increase renewable power generating capacity and access to electricity in the countries. The project has two components: an 80 MW hydropower generation plant and transmission lines and substations. The bank is financing the transmission facilities of Rusumo Falls Hydropower Project. The project will benefit households, industries, small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs and businesses in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania who will gain access to cheaper, more reliable and clean electricity. Construction of the transmission facilities is expected to be completed by August 2018 and the three countries will share the power generated equally. The project will enhance the process of regional integration by the countries developing and managing the joint assets.
It will also increase hydroelectricity supply capacity to relieve the power deficit in all the countries. It will also allow them to address their low energy access rates. Rwanda and Tanzania will be able to replace some of the energy generated from high cost imported fuel with cheaper hydropower thereby reducing the current electricity tariff. In the case of Burundi, the project will provide 50 percent of the current peak power demand, which will allow the country to expand access and other economic activities, and reduce CO2 emissions.
According to Alex Rugamba, director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department: “Rusumo Falls is one of the many projects financed by the AfDB in response to a crisis in low-energy access rates, limited infrastructure development in the region and regional projects that enhance regional stability through increased cooperation and integration among countries. Africa has incredible untapped hydropower potentials but only four per cent has been exploited. Through projects such as the Rusumo Falls project, we are looking to leverage Africa’s natural assets for universal access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services on the continent.”
The Rusumo Falls project is a being implemented under the Programme for Infrastructure Development for Africa, PIDA. In 2012, African heads of state endorsed a set of priority energy projects to be implemented by 2020 as part of the PIDA. Rusumo Falls is one of the nine hydropower projects identified for the PIDA energy infrastructure program, which focuses on major hydroelectric projects and interconnects the power pools between countries.
The AfDB’s support to the Rusumo Falls project has spanned several years. In 2006, the bank provided an ADF grant of $4 million to the Nile Basin Initiative to finance the technical, financial, economic and social feasibility studies for the transmission lines of the Rusumo Falls hydroelectric plant.