Design to begin for Nile Basin’s 61.5-MW Rusumo Falls

An official of Africa’s Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) says project design is expected to begin in June for the 61.5-MW Rusumo Falls hydroelectric project on the Kagera River in Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda.

Uganda’s The Monitor quoted Emmanuel Olet, program manager for NBI’s water resources and environment unit, saying the project would cost US$200 million and would be built between 2009 and 2011. Olet said the project could range from 60 to 80 MW.

Olet said NBI has hired Norconsult and SWECO of Norway and Sweden to design the project at a cost of US$8.2 million, with funding from the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

In April, a strategic assessment of the Nile Equatorial Lakes Region recommended the immediate development of six hydroelectric projects, including Rusumo Falls. (HNN 4/23/07) In 2006, the African Development Fund approved a grant of 2.57 million Units of Account (US$3.79 million) for NBI to study technical, financial, economic, social, and environmental feasibility of projects to transmit power from Rusumo Falls on the common border of Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda.

Olet said the project would include transmission lines extending 100 kilometers into each country. He said health centers and schools would be constructed along the transmission line routes.

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