By Pamela Largue
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved an €8 million (US$8.9 million) grant drawn from the European Union’s Africa Investment Platform (EU-AIP) to support the preparation of the 287-MW Ruzizi IV Hydropower Project.
The plant will be situated on the Ruzizi River between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It will supply electricity to the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.
Two power plants are already in operation on this river: 29.8-MW Ruzizi I and 43.8-MW Ruzizi II. A third, 147-MW Ruzizi III, is under development with bank support.
The project will provide electricity to millions of households, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and industries, thereby improving the living conditions of the regional population. Greater and more reliable access to electricity will also improve the quality of basic social service delivery including health, education, and improved security.
“The African Development Bank played a major role in structuring and raising financing for Ruzizi III, and the lessons learned will be used to successfully develop and implement Ruzizi IV. The use of renewable and affordable electric power will help to reduce poverty, unemployment, greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, as well as stabilise security in the Great Lakes region,” said Batchi Baldeh, the bank’s director for power systems development.
The €8 million grant approval follows a $980,000 grant approved end-2018 by the New Partnership for Africa Development’s Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) — which is a multi-donor Special Fund hosted by the bank — to co-finance this technical assistance.
Ruzizi Hydropower Plant Project IV meets the goal shared by Burundi, DRC and Rwanda to optimize exploitation of their energy resources by integrating electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. In addition, the project falls within the overall regional energy market framework being developed by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP) and the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP).
Ruzizi IV also aligns with the bank’s High 5 priority to “Light up and power Africa,” as well as the bank’s strategy on regional integration, and specifically, development of regional energy infrastructure.
This article is adapted from one that originally appeared on Power Engineering International, a sister website of Hydro Review.