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Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi start construction of Rusumo dam

Historic ground breaking ceremony completed for Rusumo dam to serve Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania

Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi have launched the construction activities of the regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project in Ngara, Tanzania.

The project, first conceived two decades back, will when completed deliver a shared hydropower plant with installed capacity of 80 megawatts of renewable, clean, low cost power to benefit the population in the three benefiting countries.

Each of the three countries will receive an additional 26.6 megawatts directly connected to their respective national grid through the transmission lines benefiting over one million people in the three countries.

Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s minister of Energy and Minerals led the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday by scooping earth with a grader at the construction site.

“This is a historic day for the three countries. We take recognition the Nile Basin Initiative platform and specifically its investment arm, the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU), which facilitated and coordinated the countries to move project forward,”  said the council of energy ministers of the three countries in a statement.

At the launch, the Council of Ministers in charge of Energy from Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania for the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project, were joined by Ministers of Water and Finance from Burundi, Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), World Bank, African Development Bank, African Union and NEPAD delegates.

“We are very delighted today of the fact, the trans-boundary shared Rusumo Falls project has finally come to life, after more than 20 years since it was first identified,” the ministers said in their statement.

The Rusumo falls is located on the Kagera River on the border between Rwanda (Southeast) and Tanzania (Northwest) and about 25 kilometers downstream of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania common border point. The Falls are approximately 15 meters high and 40 meters wide.

The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project is owned by the three countries through a Special Purpose Vehicle, the Rusumo Power Company Ltd (RPCL) and mandated Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU) to implement the project on their behalf.

The Construction of the Hydroelectric power plant is funded by the World Bank at a cost $340 million. The project is being constructed by two contractors  CGCOC Group and JWHC JV from China for Civil Works and ANDRITZ Hydro from Germany/India for Electro-Mechanical works. The Rusumo Hydropower Project is scheduled to be completed and commissioned by 2020.



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