The board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has allocated a total of US $113 million to the Rusumo Falls hydropower project, siphoned from the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Funfd, as well as from the Sustainable Energy for All division of the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. This funding will support the continued development of the civil infrastructure.
The 80-MW Rusumo Falls run-of-river hydro project will be constructed along the Kagera River in Rwanda, and will provide power to neighboring countries Burundi and Tanzania as well. The power generated will be shared equally between the three countries and will be transmitted via 220 kV transmission lines 98 km (61 miles) to 158km (98 miles). The initial funding for the project was approved in August of this year, and construction is expected to be complete by August 2018.
"Rusumo Falls is one of many projects financed by the AfDB in response to a crisis in low-energy access rates, limited infrastructure development in the region and regional projects that enhance regional stability through increased cooperation and integration among countries. Africa has incredible untapped hydropower potential: only four per cent of which has been exploited. Through projects such as the Rusumo Falls project, we are looking to leverage Africa's natural assets for universal access to moder, reliable and affordable energy services on the continent," explained Director of the AfDB's Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, Alex Rugamba.
The project will help to relieve the power deficit in all three countires, while displacing some of the fuel-generated energy in both Tanzania and Rwanda. In Burundi, the power generated will meet half of the current peak power demand.
Rusumo Falls is one of nine designated Programme for Infrastructure Development for Africa (PIDA) priority projects, all of which focus on linking the power pools between neighboring countries.