Ngoma and Kirehe districts are among five districts in Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi set to benefit from a $15.5 million development project championed by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU), officials have said.
Each of the three countries will eventually take $5.167 million for its different economic and social development projects within their respective territories along their common border.
NELSAP-CU entered a formal agreement with Ngoma District for a $2.5 million package on Monday.
In an interview with The New Times on Tuesday, Aphrodise Nambaje, the Mayor of Ngoma District, said the funding will go into three distinct projects aimed at improving the welfare of people in his region.
The two Rwandan districts will share $5.167 million.
“One of our target projects is small-scale irrigation for nearly 1,500 hectares in different locations, and then there is a plan to boost livestock numbers by providing animals such as goats to 15,500 poor households,” the Mayor said.
“We are also looking to increase banana production by improving our crop variety through introduction of new and better varieties on some 11 hectares.”
The development comes after the parties signed a memorandum of understanding for implementation of the Local Area Development Plan (LADP), a benefit-sharing programme largely designed to enhance regional economic and social development in the Rusumo area in Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
The NELSAP Regional Coordinator, Eng. Elicad Elly Nyabeeya, told The New Times that Kirehe District will also follow suit and pen its own deal next week.
NELSAP is one of two investment programmes under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), a partnership of the riparian states which seeks to develop the river Nile in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security.
Nyabeeya said: “The districts have a strong ownership in the projects and we took good time to go through the projects and agree on what each wants. Each district identified priority investment areas.”
Once a district has signed, it is expected to open a special account for its projects and then proceed to preparing plans for implementation.
Early this year, ministers from Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania met on the banks of River Akagera in Ngara District, Tanzania for a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a 80-MW regional project – the Rusumo Hydropower Project – which is expected to benefit more than 500,000 households in the three countries upon completion.
The World Bank funded project is executed by respective districts under the supervision of NELSAP through the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP).
The commissioning of the first production unit is expected on September 31, 2019, while the third and final one is expected by end January 2020.