17 September 2013, Kigali – Energy ministers from Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi have met in Rusumo to kick-start the construction of a joint hydro-electric project. Professor Silas Lwakabamba, Minister of Infrastructure, and Honorable Emma Francoise, the Minister of State in charge of water and energy, led the Rwandan delegation.
The Regional Rusumo Hydroelectric power project, RRHPP, is expected to produce 80 megawatts of electricity per year that will be equally shared by the three nations. Currently, 16% of Rwandans have access to electricity. The electricity generated is expected to increase access to electricity by 4% in Rwanda, 5% in Burundi, and 0.34% Tanzania.
The countries have established a jointly owned utility mechanism–called Rusumo Power Company–to co-manage power generation and power sales to national utilities.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony at Rusumo Falls, the Tanzanian Minister for Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospetes Muhongo, described the project as one of the ways that people’s aspirations for the region were materializing.
Professor Silas noted that such a project is one of many steps to achieving Vision 2020.
The multi-purpose project that has been in development since 2009 is estimated to cost about $470 million USD. Official work will commence in March 2014 and end December 2018.
– Rwanda Focus