Rwanda-Burundi Irrigation, Power Project Seeks U.S.$190 Million in Funding

23 February 2021

The Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat has announced that resources mobilization is ongoing to fund Akanyaru Multipurpose Water Resources Development project.

The development was announced Monday 22, during a virtual event meant to celebrate the Nile Day

The Akanyaru project is part of the Nile River Basin investment programme-a joint initiative of Rwanda and Burundi

Both countries are members of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), a partnership that brings together 10 countries linked to the River Nile and these are; Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The process to mobilise resources for Akanyaru dam is backed by African Development Bank (AfDB) and NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF).

The project seeks to construct a dam near Akanyaru River with capacity to produce some 333 million cubic metres of water for irrigation to serve 846,000 people.

It also seeks to supply potable water to 614,200 people in Burundi and Rwanda and to build a dam to irrigate 12,474 hectares of farmlands in both countries.

The project is also expected to generate 14.5MW of hydro-electric power, which will power 141,111 homes.

In addition to power generation, water supply and irrigation, the project will contribute to the development of other auxiliary water uses such as livestock development, employment creation, flood control, environmental protection and watershed management.

The project also includes restoration of degraded watersheds upstream of the dam.

The Akanyaru project is one of many trans-boundary investment projects in the Nile Basin that requires sustainable use of water resources.

One of the other projects is the Rusumo Falls Hydropower plant, which will benefit Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

With an aim to generate 75MW, the project is 72 per cent complete, the secretariat said.

Some investment projects still on the shelves

Despite investment projects being implemented in water resources management in Nile Basin, a substantial proportion of the already prepared investment projects has remained on the shelves and seriously affected citizens' expectations.

The Nile Basin Initiative members worked together to prepare and implement more than 84 investment projects worth more than $6.5 billion including projects with shared regional benefits.

Prof. Seifeldin Hamad Abdalla, the Executive Director of the Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat, said that investments worth more than $3 billion are progressing to implementation.

The sectors covered include hydropower development; power transmission interconnection and trade, irrigation and drainage, lakes conservation, environment management, integrated watershed management, fisheries, restoration of degraded water catchments , water resources development, flood protection and early warning and inland waterway transport.

Nile Day 2021 celebrations focused on implementation of investment projects.

Held under the theme "Rethinking regional investments in the Nile Basin", the member states have been urged to join efforts in increasing more investments in implementing the projects.

Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda's Minister of Environment who is also the current chairperson of Nile Council of Ministers said that rethinking regional investments in the Nile Basin is the way forward.

"The theme provides us with another opportunity to highlight the importance of working together, to negotiate, agree and prepare regional investment projects," she said.

She said water resources need to be equitably and sustainably used, adding that it requires joint investments for better impact.

"We all need water to survive; we need energy as a key pillar of economic development. However, we can only benefit equitably and sustainably from the shared River Nile by having a cooperation framework," she said.

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