The regional Rusumo hydroelectric project has been given a major boost as the government and the World Bank (WB) signed a funding deal worth $113.3 million USD (about 76 billion RwF), which will be injected in the project.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, and Colin Bruce, the World Bank director of strategy operations and regional integration signed the deal last week during the annual World Bank meeting in Washington, DC.
In a statement Gatete said: "This is part of Rwanda's long-term strategy to reduce electricity costs, promote renewable power, spur job-led economic development and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation and stability," Gatete said in a statement.
The deal is part of the $340 million USD that the WB allocated to the governments of Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi to fund the project. The Rusumo project, which is scheduled to commence in 2014, is expected to highly boost the power grids of the three EAC member states, with 80 megawatts upon its completion.
The funding is the first operation under the World Bank Group Great Lakes Regional Initiative, which was inaugurated by WB President Jim Yong Kim during his joint trip to the region with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May this year.
The Director General of Energy, Water and Sanitary Authority (EWSA), Ntare Karitanyi, hailed the World Bank's support, saying that this will enable the energy sector to play a critical role in Rwanda's socio-economic development. He said that the achieving the targets of EDPRS 2 and the overall Vision 2020 is directly linked to investments in the energy sector.
"Having enough, affordable, accessible and sustainable sources of energy in Rwanda is strategic and is directly related to effective development of the sector which is the key driver of the development of other sectors." Karitanyi added.
He also called upon member states to mobilize funds for the Rusizi III Hydropower project, which is estimated to generate 145 megawatts, and will be shared between Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.
Rwanda has embarked on rehabilitating its transmission lines to increase supply and constructing new high voltage transmission line interconnecting Rwanda with the region.
The country plans to increase its electricity generation from 110 megawatts to 560 megawatts and to increase electricity access rate from the current 18% to 70 % by the year 2017.