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EAC and EU Sign 16 Million Euro Agreement for Power Project

PRESS RELEASE

…as the two regional economic communities jointly celebrate EU Day in Arusha

East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, 10 May 2013: The East African Community and the European Union (EU) today at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania signed a Financing Agreement of 16 million euros for the construction of a power interconnector between Burundi and Rwanda.

The signing of the agreement was preceded by a roundtable discussion, also held at the EAC headquarters, on the theme: “Regional integration as a tool for the promotion of personal freedoms. Perspectives from the EAC and the EU", organized in commemoration of the EU Day.

Amb. Filiberto Sebregondi, the EU Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania and to the EAC, and Dr. Enos Bukuku--EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, signed the agreement during a brief ceremony witnessed by Deputy Secretaries General Dr. Julius Rotich (Political Federation) and Hon. Jesca Eriyo (Productive and Social Sectors).

Dr. Bukuku, who signed on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, thanked the EU for its support to the project, which will take approximately three years to complete and will cost 37.7 million euros in total. Of that, the EU is providing €16 million from the 10th EDF (European Development Fund) to finance the Burundian component.

KFW of Germany is providing €19.7 million out of which €16.7 million will finance the Rwandan section and €3 million for the Burundian section. The Governments of Burundi and Rwanda will contribute €1 million each.  The other components of the multinational interconnection project are financed by the African Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Government of Netherlands.

“This is a major milestone in our quest for integration of the energy sector,” Dr. Bukuku remarked, adding the project would pave the way for an EAC energy exchange in future, which would allow Partner States to plug each other’s power deficits by transmitting surplus capacity through an interconnected system.

The Rwanda–Burundi 220kV Interconnector is part of a larger ongoing multinational project to interconnect Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The project entails construction of a 143-kilometre 220kV transmission line from Kigoma (Rwanda) to Gitega (Burundi) via Butare (Rwanda) and Ngozi (Burundi).  The transmission line will cover 62 kilometres in Rwanda’s territory and 81 kilometres in Burundi’s territory.

According to the EAC’s Senior Energy Officer Mr. Peter Kinuthia various ongoing projects will complement this project to enhance the interconnectivity of the electricity system in region.

Earlier at the EAC headquarters today representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector joined EAC and EU staff in a roundtable discussion on how regional integration can be used as a tool for the promotion of personal freedoms.

The roundtable held on the theme: “Regional integration as a tool for the promotion of personal freedoms. Perspectives from the EAC and the EU", featured the EU’s Amb. Sebregondi; Deputy Secretaries General Dr. Bukuku and Hon. Eriyo; the Principal Judge of the East African Court of Justice Hon. Mr. Justice Johnston Busingye; as well as the East African Business Council Executive Director Mr. Andrew Luzze as the main discussants. The roundtable dialogue was moderated by the Chief Executive Officer of the East African Civil Society Forum Dr. Martin Mwondha.

Amb. Sebregondi shared perspectives from the European Union, while discussant after discussant from the EAC highlighted the urgent need to put in place the requisite soft and hard infrastructure that would make it possible for East Africans to enjoy the freedoms that are enshrined in the EAC Treaty, the Customs Union Protocol, and particularly, the Common Market Protocol.

Also in attendance were the EAC’s Director for Productive Sectors Dr. Nyamajeje Weggoro and the Principal Resource Mobilization Officer Dr. James Njagu.

Notes to Editors: Rwanda–Burundi 220kV Interconnector

The Rwanda – Burundi 220kV Interconnector is part of a larger ongoing multinational project to interconnect Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The Rwanda – Burundi interconnection project entails construction of 143km 220kV transmission line from Kigoma (Rwanda) to Gitega (Burundi) via Butare (Rwanda) and Ngozi (Burundi).

The transmission line will cover 62 km in Rwanda’s territory and 81km in Burundi’s territory.  The project includes construction of two 20MW 110 /30 kV substations one in Ngozi and the other in Gitega. The line will be designed at 220 kV but initially operated at 110 kV.  The project will take 34 months to complete.

The cost of the Rwanda - Burundi interconnection project is €37.7 million.  The EU is providing €16 million from the 10th European Development Fund to finance the Burundian component.  KFW of Germany is providing €19.7 million out of which €16.7 million will finance the Rwandan section and €3 million for the Burundian section.  Governments of Burundi and Rwanda will contribute €1 million each.  The other components of the multinational interconnection project are financed by the African Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Government of Netherlands.

The Rwanda-Burundi interconnector once completed will contribute to the interconnectivity of the power systems within EAC making it possible for power exchange among EAC Partner States and accessing power from neighbouring regions.  Various ongoing projects will complement this project to enhance the interconnectivity of the electricity system in region.

The 500kV HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) Ethiopia-Kenya interconnector, scheduled to commence construction in early 2014, will enable the region to access electricity from resource rich Ethiopia.  The second Kenya-Uganda interconnector, Uganda-Rwanda, and Rwanda-Burundi interconnections currently under implementation will enable Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to access the electricity delivered into Kenya by the Ethiopia-Kenya line.

It is necessary to fast track the funding for implementing the Singida-Arusha-Nairobi (Isinya) interconnector so that Tanzania can also be interconnected with the other EAC Partner States.  Tanzania is only interconnected with Uganda through a 132kV line in Bukoba area.  Tanzania also accesses electricity supply from Kenya at Namanga border through a 33kV distribution line.

The feasibility study and detailed design for the Singida-Arusha-Nairobi (Isinya), funded by the Norwegian Government, is complete.  Other projects that need to be fast tracked include Masaka-Mwanza 220kV, Mwanza-Kisumu 220kV transmission lines and the Rusumo Falls hydropower project and its associated transmission lines.  These are among the priority regional projects identified by the EAC Heads of State during their 2nd Retreat on Infrastructure Development and Financing held in November 2012.  Mobilisation of resources to finance these projects is ongoing.

The coordination of implementation of the multinational interconnection project that will result in the interconnection of the power grids of the Nile Equatorial Lakes region is by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP) of the Nile Basin Initiative.  NELSAP collaborates with the EAC particularly in the areas overlapping with the EAC.

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For more information please contact: Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Department; Corporate Communications and Public Affairs; Tel: +255 784 835021; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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