US$ 1 billion for African Great Lakes developments

By Helen Wright23 May 2013

The World Bank has approved funding of US$ 1 billion to support cross-border developments in Africa’s Great Lakes region, including hydroelectricity projects and roads.

The financing includes US$ 340 million to support the 80 MW megawatt Rusumo Falls hydroelectric project that will supply Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. In addition, US$ 150 million will go towards the rehabilitation of the Ruzizi I and II hydroelectric projects and financing for the 147 MW Ruzizi III project, on the Ruzizi River bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

Developing the hydropower potential in DRC, in particular, will provide Burundi and Rwanda access to low-cost power and a stake in regional stability, according to the World Bank. Currently, there is no regional grid and very limited interconnectivity between countries in the region.

Meanwhile, US$ 165 million will be put toward building roads in DRC’s North and South Kivu and Province Orientale, while US$ 180 million will be invested in improving infrastructure and border management along the Rwanda-DRC border. Other funds from the package will support healthcare and poverty reduction goals.

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