The African Development Bank (AfDB) has set aside $ 295m (Approx Rwf164bn) for the implementation of two mega infrastructure projects that will connect Rwanda to her neighbouring countries.
One of the projects is the Interconnection of Electricity Grids of the Nile Equatorial Lakes Countries that was allocated US$148 m (approx. Rwf 81bn).
Another project is the Nyamitanga-Ruhwa-Ntendezi-Mwityazo road that will link Rwanda to Burundi at an estimated cost of $150m.
During an exclusive interview, the AfDB Resident Representative in Rwanda, Diko Jacob Mukete, said that the country would benefit from the grid electricity in the project through increased cross-border electric power trade.
“The project will increase access to affordable and reliable electricity supply to rural and urban communities, industrial and trading enterprises, and private and government institutions,” Mukete said over the weekend.
“It will contribute to Rwanda’s objective of increasing access to electricity from six to over nine percent by 2015 and 13 percent by 2020 as well as towards the achievement of other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in education, health, and water and sanitation,” he added.
Currently, the average cost per kilowatt of electricity in Rwanda is 20cents (Approx Rwf110) and the peak demand is currently estimated at over 100 MW, while peak production capacity is only 66 MW, and the deficit is largely met through imports from neighbouring countries.
“However, with the planned commissioning of new plants in Rwanda, including Nyabarongo Hydro Power Project and the Lake Kivu Methane Gas project, Rwanda will become a net exporter of electricity to the region,” he said.
According to a press statement from AfDB, the two projects will have a significant impact on Rwanda’s economic growth and economic integration with its neighbouring countries in the East African Region and the Great Lakes.
Documents from the continental bank indicate that the power interconnection project consists of the construction and upgrading of a 106 km transmission line as part of the 172 km interconnection line linking Rwanda with Uganda.
Asked how much financing will be allocated to Rwanda on this particular project, Mukete said that AfDB’s grant to Rwanda under the project amounts to US$46 million (approx. Rwf 30 bn) part of which will come from the Bank’s regional operations envelope.
“The Government of Rwanda on its part will contribute about $3 million to the project,” said Mukete. He added that Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure will be the project executing agency.
“Electrogaz (the national water and power utility) will be responsible for the implementation of the project on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure,” He added.
The grant agreement will be signed early next year by the AfDB President Dr. Donald Kaberuka and its implementation will be within a period of 48 months from 2009.
Meanwhile, in the interview with Mukete, he gave details of the that would connect Nyamitanga, Ruhwa, Ntendezi and Mwityazo.
He said that the Burundi-Rwanda Road Project will contribute and facilitate regional integration and significantly reduce poverty in the areas of the Western Province, in particular the districts of Rusizi, Karongi, Rutsiro and Rabuvu as it will facilitate access to production and marketing zone between the two countries, and the outside world.
“The project will mainly consist of the rehabilitation and improvement of transport corridor roads, specifically for Rwanda,” said Mukete.
He also stressed that the improvement of 30 km of feeder roads, transport and transit facilitation actions- construction and equipping of the Single Border Control Post.
The amount involved in this project totals to $76 million (approx. Rwf 42bn) and Rwanda’s contribution to this will be $1.1 million.
The project also has the same timeframe of 48 months from 2009 and the grant agreement is also expected to be signed early next year by Kaberuka.