Energy ministers from Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania on Thursday broke grounds for the construction of 80MW Rusumo Hydroelectric power plant.
The project financed by the World Bank will see the three countries receive 26.6MW each into their main grid.
A statement from Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU) the projects implementer, said the project is expected to benefit over 7000 households. In addition, some 500 skilled and non-skilled will also gain employment from the US340 million project.
Three 220Kv transmission lines will be constructed to connect the power plant sub-stations with three centres in the countries. The transmission lines connecting the three countries will be financed by African Development Bank at a tune of USD121 million.
According to ELicad Nyabeeya, NELSAP-CU engineer the project requires effective coordination and management to deliver the power plant on time. Two Chinese firms CGCOC Group Ltd- Jiangxi Water and Hydropower construction Company limited have been contracted to execute the project. The two firms are expected to handle the civil works as well as supply installation of hydro mechanical equipment.
Supplying and installation of electro-mechanical equipment for the power plant will be undertaken by Rusumo Falls Andritz Hydro GmbH of Germany and Andritz Hydro PVT Limited of India.
Mr Nyabeeya added that the project, whose completion date is in three years’ time, will enhance socio-economic growth, reinforce regional cooperation, partnership and peace within the Kagera River Basin countries.
Lack of access to electricity has been a major concern in the region. It is estimated that on 4 per cent of the population in Burundi have access to electricity. This is followed by Rwanda and Tanzania at 13 and 15 per cent access.