Plans for the 287MW Ruzizi IV hydropower project on the Ruzizi River between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are moving forward with news that the African Development Bank Group has approved a €8 million grant drawn from the European Union’s Africa Investment Platform (EU-AIP) to support the project’s preparation.
When completed, Ruzizi IV will exploit the Ruzizi River’s full hydropower potential, with the project to supply electricity to the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda. Two power plants are already in operation: Ruzizi I produces 29.8MW and Ruzizi II, 43.8MW; a third, Ruzizi III, with a projected 147MW output is under development with Bank support.
“The African Development Bank played a major role in structuring and raising financing for Ruzizi III, and the lessons learned will be used to successfully develop and implement Ruzizi IV. The use of renewable and affordable electric power will help to reduce poverty, unemployment, greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, as well as stabilise security in the Great Lakes region,” said Batchi Baldeh, the Bank’s Director for Power Systems Development.
The €8 million grant approval follows a $980,000 grant approved end-2018 by the New Partnership for Africa Development’s Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF), which is a multi-donor Special Fund hosted by the Bank, to co-finance this technical assistance.
Ruzizi Hydropower Plant Project IV meets the goal shared by Burundi, DRC and Rwanda to optimise exploitation of their energy resources by integrating electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. The project falls within the overall regional energy market framework being developed by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP) and the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP).
Ruzizi IV also aligns with the Bank's High 5 priority to "Light up and power Africa", as well as the Bank’s strategy on regional integration, and specifically, development of regional energy infrastructure.