The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project is an under implementation project that was launched on the 30th, March, 2017 with an installed capacity of 80 MW (Run of River Scheme at 1320masl) that will be shared equally among Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The power generation infrastructure is located at Rusumo Falls at the border of Tanzania and Rwanda. The transmission lines will extend from the power generation plant to Gitega in Burundi, Kigali in Rwanda, and Nyakanazi in Tanzania. The project will develop renewable hydroelectric power as part of a broader program to support sustainable management of the Kagera River Basin and promote growth and poverty reduction. NELSAP is the Hydro Project on behalf of the three countries.

Figure 1 The expected look of Rusumo Dam&power station upon completion in 2019

This project will provide more electricity to growing Town Centers while ensuring that environmental aspects are well managed and benefits of shared power are produced. The project upon completion will facilitate increased economic activities, private sector development, and investments in social infrastructure and services through improved access to electricity.

The project has three components:

  1. A hydroelectric power generation plant at the Rusumo Falls of -80MW capacity to be shared among the three countries,

The setting up of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) the Rusumo Power Company Limited is complete. The project is worth US$340Million and US$128Million that have advanced to the countries as a loan from the World Bank and African Development Bank for the implementation of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric project and the Power transmission lines respectively.

The compensation of the affected persons by the project has been completed on both sides of Rwanda and Tanzania. The Dam construction contractor has completed site mobilization while the electromechanical equipment contractor is designing the equipment. The expected Dam will be commissioned in 2020 providing 26MW of electricity to Rwanda.

Additional pipeline of investment projects have been prioritized by countries under the NELSAP portfolio projects, which some of them covering Rwanda; feasibility study of the Akanyaru Cascade of Dams and Akanyaru Multipurpose project are part of the portfolio.

As part of bringing quick benefits to the community in the project site neighbourhoods (in Ngoma and Kirehe districts), the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project has allocated USD5million to the people through the two District Councils to implement different community development projects (agriculture (irrigation) and livestock, construction of new health centres, & road rehabilitation) through the Local Area Development Program. The projects will deliver direct benefits to the people around the expected hydropower generation plan.

The Project has started the implementation of the livelihood restoration program for the affected people by Rusumo project in the Kirehe District. A budget of USD302,862 has been approved for the activities and the first disbursement sent to Kirehe District to implement planned activities.

By Doreen Nakure