World Bank approves US$340m for East African nations

330KV-TRANSMISSION-SWITCHYARD07 August 2013, Washington DC – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, Tuesday approved US$340 million for the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project which aims to benefit 62 million people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

This project is the first operation under the World Bank Group Great Lakes Regional Initiative inaugurated by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim during his historic joint visit with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May 2013.

The overall project cost is US$468.60 million and its eventual 80 megawatt generation capacity will boost reliable power supply to the electricity grids of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, reduce electricity costs, promote renewable power, spur job-led economic development and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation, peace and stability among the countries of the Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) sub-region in east Africa.

The World Bank financing of a total US$340 million – US$113.30 million to each of the governments of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania comes from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest.*

“This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” says Colin Bruce, Director, Strategy, Operations and Regional Integration.

“By connecting grids, people and environmentally sensitive solutions, the project will help to catalyze growth and to encourage peace and stability in the sub-region.”

Lack of access to electricity is a defining constraint in the region. Only four percent of the population in Burundi has access to electricity, corresponding numbers for Rwanda and Tanzania are 13 and 15 percent respectively. All three countries will benefit from job created by construction and installation activity associated with the power plant.

By choosing a run-of-the-river option to reduce social and environmental impacts, the participating governments have demonstrated careful and responsible decision-making.

“The Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project takes a regional approach to tackling Sub-Saharan Africa’s power crisis, providing low-cost, clean, renewable energy to people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” says Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region.

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