African dam project wins €9m funding from European Investment Bank

25 Feb 20

A trio of African nations has received a €9m grant from the European Investment Bank towards a hydropower project to supply renewable energy to millions of people.

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda received the grant for “final preparatory works” on a hydropower project that will generate electricity from the Ruzizi river which runs through the countries.

The Ruzizi III scheme will benefit an estimated 30 million people, 70% of whom are living under the poverty line and only 6% of whom can at present access electricity.

The power generated will be shared equally between the countries.

The project has been long in the making and has received support from the EIB and other European financial partners since 2009.

EIB hailed the €9m grants as a “milestone” which follows an agreement between the governments of Burundi, DRC and Rwanda and private sector sponsors in July last year.

Ambroise Fayolle, EIB vice president, said: “Today’s agreement demonstrates the European Union’s firm commitment to supporting renewable energy in Africa and unlock support of private investors for sustainable development.”

Once commissioned, Ruzizi III will double Burundi’s current electricity generation capacity, increase Rwanda’s installed capacity by 33% and provide much-needed baseload power in Eastern DRC, a region that is otherwise isolated from DRC’s interconnected grid, according to EIB.

EIB said the project would also support regional integration, reduce reliance on expensive thermal generation and reduce dependence on wood fuel and charcoal.

Domicien Ndihokubwayo, finance minister for Burundi, said: “Harnessing the full potential of the Ruzizi River has been a dream for Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo for generations.

“The long-standing support of international financial partners and close cooperation with regional governments has been crucial to enable technical, political and environmental planning to progress.”

The project sign off comes a month after ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed on the giant Blue Nile hydropower dam.

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