The project is expected to serve Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. The regional project is part of a Great Lakes regional initiative inaugurated by the World Bank’s President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their joint visit to the region in May.
The visit was in support of a UN-brokered peace agreement signed earlier this year to help end conflict and crisis in DR Congo and to promote economic development in the region.
The power project, which has a total cost of $468 million (about Rwf300 billion), is expected to generate 80 megawatts to boost reliable power supply to the electricity grids of the three countries.
“This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” said Colin Bruce, World Bank’s director of strategy, operations and regional integration.
“By connecting grids, people and environmentally sensitive solutions, the project will help to catalyse growth and to encourage peace and stability in the sub-region.”
Rwanda last year unveiled Rwf3 trillion roadmap for energy production and accessibility over the next five years.
The target is to gradually tap 215MW from peat, 310MW from geothermal, 320MW from hydro power, and 300MW from methane gas, among others.
The project is expected to reduce electricity costs, promote renewable energy, spur job-led economic development and pave the way for regional integration and cooperation among the countries of the Nile Equatorial Lakes sub-region in East Africa, according to the statement from the Bank.
The power plant will be located at Rusumo Falls on the Tanzania-Rwanda border.
“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,” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank director for sustainable development in Africa.