The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing €9 million (US$9.8 million) to support the implementation of the 147-MW Ruzizi III hydropower project, which will benefit people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi.
The proposed Ruzizi III is a run-of-river hydropower project to be located on the Ruzizi River between Rwanda and DRC. Ruzizi River flows from Lake Kivu to Lake Tanganyika in central Africa and delineates the southern border of Rwanda with DRC and also forms the border between DRC and Burundi.
The funding unlocks final preparatory works for Ruzizi III hydropower, which will provide reliable electricity to 30 million people, of whom 70% are living under the poverty line. Only 6% of the 30 million people have access to electricity.
The project is being developed by IPS/SN Power and will double current electricity generation capacity in Burundi, increase installed capacity in Rwanda by 33% and provide much-needed baseload power in eastern DRC.
The project will support regional integration and reduce reliance on expensive thermal generation and reduce the local dependence on wood fuel and charcoal.
EIB is supporting the project via the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. EIB has supported the project since 2009.
“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. Today’s agreement with the European Investment Bank will enable project financing to be agreed in the coming months and the Ruzizi III project to finally begin. Burundi thanks all partners involved for their dedication to transforming access to clean energy in the Great Lakes,” said Domicien Ndihokubwayo, Finance Minister of the Republic of Burundi.
This article was first published on Smart Energy International and was reprinted with permission.