The FINANCIAL -- The World Bank ’s
Board of Executive Directors approved US$340 million for the
Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project which aims to benefit people
in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, according to The World Bank Group.
This project is the first 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 overall project cost is US$468.60 million and its eventual 80 megawatt generation capacity will boost reliable power supply to the electricity grids of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, 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, according to The World Bank Group.
The World Bank financing of a total US$340 million – US$113.30 million to each of the governments of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania comes from the International Development Association, the World Bank ’s fund for the poorest.
“This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” said Colin Bruce, Director, Strategy, Operations and Regional Integration. “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,” he added.
Lack of access to electricity is a defining constraint in the region. Only four percent of the population in Burundi has access to electricity, corresponding numbers for Rwanda and Tanzania are 13 and 15 percent respectively. All three countries will benefit from job created by construction and installation activity associated with the power plant. By choosing a run-of-the-river option to reduce social and environmental impacts, the participating governments have demonstrated careful and responsible decision-making.
“The Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric 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,” said 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,” he adde.