Rwanda, Burundi power project gets EU financial boost

electricity africa-Julie Elliott-Abshire sxc.huThe European Union (EU) will provide a financial boost of nearly US$49mn for the commencement of the construction of a 143km 220kV transmission line from Rwanda’s Kigoma to Burundi’s Gitega

The agreement was signed last week between the East African Community (EAC) and the EU.

The project, when complete, will enable the two countries to share electricity using a common transmission line.

James Kamanzi, secretary in the Rwanda’s Ministry for Infrastructure, said, “The study has been completed and procurement for supervision of construction of the transmission line that links us with Burundi is at an advanced stage. We need the transmission lines such that if we get more power, we will be able to sell it and in case of deficit, receive more from other regional countries.”

Aimed at reducing energy costs, the Rwanda-Burundi 220kV project is part of a larger ongoing multi-national project to interconnect Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the DR Congo.

Enos Bukuku, EAC’s deputy secretary general, thanked the EU for its support towards the project, which will take nearly three years for completion.

Of the total development cost, the EU will provide US$20.7mn through the European Development Fund to finance the Burundian component. German banking group KfW is expected to contribute US$25.5mn, of which US$21.6mn will go to Rwandan section and US$3.9mn to Burundian zone.

The governments of Burundi and Rwanda will each contribute US$1.3mn.

Bukuku said, “This is a major milestone in our quest for integration of the energy sector,” adding, “The project will pave the way for an EAC energy exchange in the future, which would allow partner states to plug each other’s power deficits by transmitting surplus capacity through an interconnected system.”

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