The government has signed a funding deal worth $113.3 million (about Rwf76 billion) from the World Bank to be injected into the regional Rusumo Falls hydro-electric project.
The deal is part of the $340 million that the Bank allocated to the governments of Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, to fund the project.
The Rusumo project, set to commence in 2014, is expected to boost the power grids of the three countries with 80 megawatts once complete.
The deal was signed, last week, during the annual World Bank meeting in Washington DC, by the Minister for Finance, Amb. Claver Gatete, and Colin Bruce, the Bank director of strategy operations and regional integration.
“This is part of Rwanda’s long-term strategy to reduce electricity costs, promote renewable power, spur job-led economic development and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation and stability,” Gatete said in a statement.
The funding is the first operation under the World Bank Group Great Lakes Regional Initiative, inaugurated by Group President Jim Yong Kim during his joint trip to the region with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May this year.
An all-important energy
Yesterday, Ntare Karitanyi, the director-general of Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), appreciated the World Bank’s support, emphasising the energy sector’s role to Rwanda’s development and modernisation.
“The realisation of EDPRS 2 targets as well as the overall Vision 2020 targets is directly linked to investments in energy sector,” Karitanyi said.
“Having enough, affordable, accessible and sustainable sources of energy in Rwanda is strategic and is directly related to effective development of the sector which is the key driver of the development of other sectors.”
Karitanyi also urged member states to mobilise funds for the Rusizi III Hydropower project which is estimated to generate 145 megawatts shared between Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.
Rwanda has embarked on rehabilitating its transmission lines to increase supply, as well as constructing new high voltage transmission lines interconnecting Rwanda with the region.
The country has an ambitious target to catapult its electricity generation from 110 megawatts to 560 megawatts, as well as to increase the electricity access rate from current 18 percent to 70 per cent by 2017.