Friday, July 8, 2011

Rwanda: EIB confirms commitment to Ruzizi III hydropower project

Rwanda: EIB confirms commitment to Ruzizi III hydropower project
07/07/2011 07:02 (1 Day 04:50 minutes ago)

The FINANCIAL -- The European Investment Bank, the long-term lending
institution of the European Union and world�s largest multinational
lending body, today confirmed that it will work closely with financial
preparation of the Ruzizi hydroelectric project to be launched later
today in Kigali.

This marks the start of a second financial stage of preparations in
the Ruzizi project. Leading development finance institutions who
recognise the 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 European Investment Bank will participate in a round table meeting
being held in Kigali that brings together regional ministers and
potential donors and investors. The Kigali round table will examine
the recently completed feasibility and organisational studies and can
now discuss possible financing of the project. This meeting will be
hosted by E.G.L., Energie des Pays des Grands Lacs, which is
responsible for promoting cooperation in the energy sector between
countries of the Great Lakes region. Representatives from the European
Union, African Development Bank, World Bank , KfW, Agence Francaise de
Developpement, Proparco and other international development finance
institutions will attend.

Ministers of Water from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of
Congo attend the two-day round table meeting to formally approve the
creation of a water management basin agency for the Lake Kivu basin
and a new international treaty setting up the institutional framework
to develop the Ruzizi III project. European support and engagement has
made a significant contribution to preparing these essential

�The European Investment Bank is committed to working closely with EGL
to enable the Ruzizi hydropower project to contribute meeting the
energy needs of the Great Lakes region. This project provides the
framework for economic development, regional cooperation and promotion
of peace that can benefit Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.� said
Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice President
responsible for operations in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific.

�Energy is crucial for economic development in the Great Lakes region.
Together with the European Investment Bank the EU Delegation in Kigali
is pleased to provide European support for the Ruzizi Hydropower
project.� said Michel Arrion, European Union Ambassador to Rwanda.

�The Ruzizi Hydropower project has received crucial European support
since its re-launch in 2007. We are grateful for the European
Investment Bank�s leadership in helping enhance preparation of this
landmark energy scheme and we look forward to working closely in the
future.� said Professor Pierre Muzyumba Mwanahembe, Directeur General
de l�EGL.

The overall project cost of the Ruzizi hydropower scheme is estimated
to be EUR 378 million, with high-voltage transmission links to supply
electricity to three neighbouring 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.

Previous meetings of the Steering Committee of the Ruzizi III project
led to the creation of a regional regulatory framework to manage water
from Lake Kivu and coordination with other hydropower plants on the
river. Current funding plans for the Ruzizi scheme envisage a Public-
Private Partnership.

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