EIB confirms commitment to Ruzizi III hydropower project in Rwanda

The European Investment Bank confirmed it will work closely with financial preparation of the Ruzizi hydroelectric project in Rwanda.

This marks the start of a second financial stage of preparations in the Ruzizi hydro project. Leading development finance institutions who recognize the hydropower scheme's clear potential contribution to electricity generation in the Great Lakes region will now discuss possible financing of the project, following completion of detailed technical feasibility studies.

The European Investment Bank and European Union have played a leading role in bringing together political and financial support for the project and examining the technical, institutional and financial feasibility of building a 147 MW hydropower plant on the Ruzizi River. This landmark scheme has the potential to transform electricity supply to Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and would represent the first public-private sector energy engagement in the Great Lakes region.

The Ruzizi project has the potential to transform energy availability for an estimated 107 million people living in the Great Lakes region. Energy use is currently dominated by use of charcoal for cooking and electrification can contribute significantly to economic development.

The overall project cost of the Ruzizi hydropower scheme is estimated to be EUR 378 million (about USD 530.4 million), with high-voltage transmission links to supply electricity to three neighboring countries. The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund has provided EUR 2.8 million of grant funding for studies examining the economic soundness, environmental and social impact, water management and electricity links and institutional strengthening of EGL.

Earlier in 2011, the EIB approved a EUR300 million loan to Energias de Portugal (EDP) for upgrade work on the Alqueva and Venda Nova pumped-storage hydropower plants, the EIB reported.

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