Rusumo power project to benefit 500,000 households

The Rusumo Hydropower Project upon completion is expected to benefit over 500,000 households in Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, according to officials.
The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the 80 MW regional Rusumo hydro-electric held on the banks of Akagera River in Ngara District, Tanzania. / Nadege Imbabazi
The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the 80 MW regional Rusumo hydro-electric held on the banks of Akagera River in Ngara District, Tanzania. / Nadege Imbabazi

The Rusumo Hydropower Project upon completion is expected to benefit over 500,000 households in Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, according to officials.

During the ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the 80-MW regional project last Thursday, officials emphasized that the latter shows that regional countries can achieve greater development enterprises for their people when they collaborate.

The ceremony held on the banks of River Akagera in Ngara district, Tanzania, was presided over by Ministers in charge of energy from Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania and other stakeholders.

1491209085rusumo-2
Officials pose for a group photo after the ceremony. / Nadege Imbabazi
1491209292burundi-drummers
Burundian culture dance entertain guest during the ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday in Ngara, Tanzania. / Nadege Imbabazi

Construction of the plant is financed by the World Bank at a cost of $340 million, while transmission lines connecting the plant to national grids in the three countries are financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a cost of $121 million.

“This project is a sure example of what is possible when neighbouring countries cooperate and engage each other constructively for the benefit of their people,” said Dr Humphrey Richard Ndwiga, AfDB’s principal energy trading expert.

1491209420ndwinga
Dr. Humphrey Richard Ndwiga, AfDB’s principal energy trading expert, speaks during the ceremony. / Nadege Imbabazi

Ndwiga said the project will supply more than 500,000 regional households with electricity and offer “thousands of jobs to the youth” in the three countries.

Bella Bird, World Bank country director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia congratulated the three governments for their “collaborative effort” to bring the project to the construction phase after years of negotiations.

1491209178bella-bird
Bella Bird, World Bank country director, congratulated the three governments for their “collaborative effort” to bring the project to the construction phase. / Nadege Imbabazi

“This project is one that has gained great importance in the region and stands out as an example of how cooperation between nations can bring development to the people,” Bird said.

Rusumo falls was identified as a potential area for hydropower generation in 1974 but the project failed to take off. The development of the regional project idea was revived in 2006 and championed by NELSAP-CU, the investment arm of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).

Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s minister of energy and minerals who was guest of honor, warned that nothing should interfere with the new push.

1491209857muhongo

Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s minister of energy and minerals, said that the first production unit is expected to be done on September 31, 2019, it was during the ground-breaking ceremony for construction of Rusumo hydro-electric power plant. / Nadege Imbabazi

The commissioning of the first production unit is expected on September 31, 2019. The third and final one is expected by end of January 2020.

Speaking to The New Times, Kirehe District Mayor Gerard Muzungu said the project is very important for the three countries not only for the power it will generate but there will be many people from the three countries gaining employment.
 
"We shall further mobilize people such that those able or have the required skills to benefit from this project. But there will be much more as it will also boost business in the area."

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

Have Your SayLeave a comment