The African Development Bank has approved funding totaling US$113M for the 80MW Rusumo Falls hydroelectric project.
The Bank Group allocated US$97.3M from the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund for the multinational project, which will support the development of sustainable energy infrastructure. An additional US $16M grant from the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) window of the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund was recently mobilized by the AfDB Group to help finance part of the Burundi transmission line from the Rusumo Falls power plant.
The Rusumo Falls project will increase renewable power generating capacity and access to electricity in Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The project has two components: an 80MW hydropower generation plant and transmission lines and substations. Construction of the transmission facilities is expected to be completed by August 2018; and the three countries will share the power generated equally.
"Rusumo Falls is one of many projects financed by the AfDB in response to a crisis in low-energy access rates, limited infrastructure development in the region and regional projects that enhance regional stability through increased cooperation and integration among countries. Africa has incredible untapped hydropower potential: only four per cent of which has been exploited," explained Alex Rugamba, Director of the AfDB's Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department. "Through projects such as the Rusumo Falls project we are looking to leverage Africa's natural assets for universal access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services on the continent."
The project will increase hydroelectricity supply capacity to relieve the power deficit in all three countries. It will also allow them to address their low energy access rates. Rwanda and Tanzania will be able to displace some of the energy generated from high cost imported fuel with cheaper hydropower thereby reducing the current electricity tariff. In the case of Burundi, the project will provide 50% of the current peak power demand, which will allow the country to expand access and other economic activities, and reduce CO2 emissions.