Rwanda, DRC, Burundi Plan Massive Hydroelectric Power Plant

Rwanda,Burundi and DRC Water Ministers last week signed a convention under the umbrella of Economic of the Great Lakes Countries(CEPGL) to mark the end of a 2 year technical feasibility study on Ruzizi III hydroelectric Project.

The ministers have now reached the opening stage of mobilizing finance for the project from International Financial Institutions in a donor Round Table Conference in Kigali.

The Rwanda Natural Resources Minister, Mr Stanislaus Kamanzi, who signed on Rwanda’s behalf said, “We are now at the stage where the three Countries need $450 million to complete the Ruzizi hydroelectric project which will address the Great Lakes energy needs.’

According to SOFRECO, a consultant organization in the energy sector that carried the Ruzizi III project, the donors want the project to be a public-private partnership, an environmental and social assessment of the plant ,drafting of the international convention on the integrated management of water on t Lake Kivu and Ruzizi River Basin.

“Energy is crucial for economic development in the Great Lakes region. Together with the European Investment Bank, the EU is pleased to provide European support for the Ruzizi hydropower project,” said Michel Arrion,EU Ambassador to Rwanda.

The Ruzizi project a Public private partnership, is expected to begin generating electricity 145MW for the three countries by 2013 and the European Investment Bank Associate Director for Central Africa and East Africa, Ms Flavia Palanza affirmed commitment to the project.

“We have already earmarked 300 to 350 million Euros for the Ruzizi project.So events in Europe will not affect the project.” Ms Palanza assured.

The Director of Geology of Burundi, Mr Gideon Nizeye said they need 300MW but only generate 65 MW and according to Rwanda’s State Minister for energy and water, Colette Ruhamya said,.

“The Ruzizi hydro project does not solve all our energy problems at once although it will reduce over reliance on Thermal energy.”

The Financial Institutions supportive to Ruzizi III Hydro project are the African Development Bank which pledged 50 million Euros, the European Investment Bank, and World Bank among others.