KAGERA residents as well as other Tanzanians have a reason to smile following the long-awaited Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP) reaching 99 per cent to completion and expected to be launched soon.
Making the revelation here in an interview with the ‘Daily News’ on Sunday, Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) Kagera Regional Manager Engineer Godlove Mathayo said that he was confident that once the hydropower project is completed, it will enhance socio-economic growth, reinforce regional cooperation, partnership and peace within the East African region.
“The project is a good initiative that will improve the socio-economic benefits. Once operational, it will bring 80 MW of renewable, clean, relatively low-cost power to the national grids of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania with each country benefitting from about 27 MW,” he said.
Elaborating, he tipped the residents of Kagera, Geita and Kigoma regions as well as other Tanzanians to grab the attractive investment opportunities, which come with its implementation, especially to increase production of cash and food crops to enable the nation to get raw materials needed in the industrialisation drive.
The region is directly bordering three East African Community (EAC) countries – Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi while Kenya can also be reached through Lake Victoria.
The region is also a gateway to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a combined market of around 300m/-. This is a big opportunity to increase our trade relations.
He, however, cautioned people surrounding the project to avoid extravagant usage of water from the Kagera and Ruvubu rivers to avoid damaging the Rusumo water dam.
Implementation of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric project will enhance regional cooperation, support sustainable management of the Kagera River Basin, promote growth and poverty reduction and also manage environmental aspects.
The project will address the acute shortage of electricity experienced by the three countries, which negatively affect their economies.
Once operational, the project will generate 80 MW of renewable clean energy, relatively low-cost power to the national grids of the three countries shared equally, with each country receiving an additional 165 GWH per year.
The additional power will benefit about 1,146,000 people in the three countries- 520,000 in Burundi (5.4 per cent), 159,000 in Tanzania (0.34 per cent) and 467,000 in Rwanda (4 per cent).
“Shortage of electricity in these countries and indeed the entire Nile Basin region has resulted into an underdeveloped manufacturing sector, hence limited options for business development necessary for income, reduced dependency on toxic fuel and limited opportunities for modernising and improving the quality of key infrastructure including health care, water supply and other social services.
Electricity power is a catapult which Tanzanians should utilise by establishing medium and large industries,” he said.
The World Bank (WB) donated US 340million dollars for the construction of the power plant while the African Development Bank (ADB) had donated US 128.6million dollars for construction of transmission lines.
The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project is a hydropower project under joint development by the governments of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania through a commonly owned Rusumo Power Company (RPCL).
The joint development was entered by the three governments through a Tripartite Agreement signed on 16th February, 2012. The project is located at Rusumo Falls at the common border of Rwanda and Tanzania on River Kagera.