Joint Billion power project: Three East African countries involved
Posted by African Press International on March 11, 2008
Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda are jointly to benefit for 80mw hydropower project, which is to be constructed with the financing assistance of the Nile Equatorial Lake subsidiary Action Programme.
Tanzania Commissioner for Energy and Petroleum Bashir Mrinduka disclosed this last week.
He told the Nairobi weekly, EastAfrican that the project which is designed to produce between 60MW and 80MW is expected to start early next year with the construction of the Tshs 200 billion (USD 190 million) Rugumo hydropower project on the Kigera River.
The Project will be completed the year 2011
“Although the project will contribute just 80MW to be shared by the three countries it will impact positively on the Kigoma region which for years has been using diesel propelled generators for electricity “the commissioner said
The project is being implemented by two Nile Equatorial Lake subsidiary action programme ,an investment programme of the Nile Basin Initiative.
The weekly further quoted Tanzania’a Minister for Energy William Ngeleja as saying the three countries all members of the East African community are currently preparing the first major Kagera Basin Infrastructure project for generating hydro-electric power at the Rugumo Falls site.
The project also provides for important interconnection among the three countries contributing towards the medium and long term goals of interconnecting with the East African Community and Southern African power pool (SAPP)
Tanzania, though a member o f the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is yet to become an active member of SAPP as it is not booked up t the letter’s grid.
Lack of electricity has been a key constraint hampering development in the country’s agriculturally rich Kigera region .Most urban and rural household rely on biomass for their cooking and heating needs, leading to deforestation and soil erosion.
Current electricity demand far exceeds supply and lead shedding is endemic, forcing business to invest in expensive generators to deal with frequent blackouts that disrupt economic activities.
The three countries have jointly requested the IDA to support the preparation phase to mobilize grants and other financing for implementation of the project
In 2006, the three counties signed a joint project development agreement that commits them to a series of milestones, including a target date for financial closure procedural terms for project management adopting a development schedule and budget and at the same time exploring all financing options including private sector participation in the project.
The project along with other development initiatives supports the broader Kigera Basin development goal which is to improve livelihoods in the region through sustainable development
A project analysis shows that outcomes at the regional level include an increase in the economic activity, private sector development and investments in social infrastructure and services facilitated electricity.
Outcomes at the project area level focus on economic development in growth centre along the regional transmission lines by improving access to electricity for micro-small and medium enterprises and environmental and social services.
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