KIGALI - Officials from Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania yesterday met in Kigali to fast track the implementation of the Rusumo Hydroelectric power project.
The third meeting of ministers responsible for electricity generation also attracted development partners and stakeholders in the energy sector of the three countries.
Opening the forum, State Minister in Charge of Energy and Water, Coletha Ruhamya, said that Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania are concerned with sluggishness in the implementation of the Rusumo hydro power project.
“Lets us use this forum to dispel these concerns and address the existing obstacles,” she added.
Ruhamya stressed that the project is expected to generate 90 megawatts which will increase power production in Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
She stated that this is one of the last chances offered to institutional and financing frameworks where all parties are prepared to come in with constructive solutions.
Three transmission lines are planned from Rusumo to Gitega in Burundi, Kigali to Kabarondo, and Biharamuro in Tanzania.
Speaking on behalf of the development partners, John Murray McIntire, the World Bank’s Director, Africa Region, said Rusumo falls was identified as one of the best priority projects in 2005 by Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP).
He mentioned that the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and other international agencies have worked closely with NELSAP and the countries to provide input to preparation of Rusumo falls project.
“We from the development partners are prepared to continue supporting the project,” McIntire said.
Adam Malima, Tanzania’s Minister of Energy and Minerals said the joint commitment of implementing the generation of hydro electric power from Rusumo falls would continue.
“Rusumo power project is one of the priority energy projects that will benefit the people in the region by providing them with cheap energy,” he added.
According to Burundi’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Moise Bucumi, the power project will reduce the power deficit in the region.
“The project will mitigate the challenges that arise from reliance on a limited type of energy sources by contributing to the reduction of energy costs in the regional countries,” he noted.
He added that Rusumo power project would strengthen an interconnection transmission backbone promoting regional cooperation and integration.
The power project is expected to be implemented in 2012; currently the environmental, social impact, resettlement action and local area development plans are under preparation and expected to be delivered by October this year.