World Bank approves $340MM for African hydropower project

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved the expenditure of $340 million for a new hydroelectric project that will primarily help people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project is the first operation under the Great Lakes Regional Initiative inaugurated by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim during his historic joint visit with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May 2013.

The total cost of the plant is estimated at $468.6 million and will boast an 80 megawatt generation capacity. The World Bank's contribution breaks down to $113.3 million per country affected by the plant.

"This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania," said Colin Bruce, director of strategy, operations and regional integration. "By connecting grids, people and environmentally sensitive solutions, the project will help to catalyze growth and to encourage peace and stability in the sub-region."

Currently, the lack of electricity in the region has extreme adverse effects. An estimated 4 percent of Burundi has access to electricity, while Rwandans and Tanzanians have 13 and 15 percent, respectively.

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