WASHINGTON, April 22, 2014 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$100 million grant to the Republic of Burundi for the Jiji and Mulembwe hydropower project.
Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is suffering from a sustained and chronic power crisis. Only 31 percent of the population has access to electricity, leaving nearly 600 million people without energy access. In Burundi, only four percent of the ten million-large population currently has access to electricity, marking some of the lowest access rates anywhere in the world.
The development objective of the Jiji-Mulembwe hydropower project is to increase the supply of clean and low-cost hydropower electricity to Burundi’s national grid. The project will almost double the installed generation capacity in Burundi.
An important aim of the project is to provide technical assistance for strengthening the publicly-owned electricity and water production and distribution company, REGIDESO, so that it is better equipped to sustainable manage the construction and operate and maintain the hydropower facilities. In addition, the project will finance power sector reforms and institutional development.
The Jiji-Mulembwe hydropower project brings together a coalition of donors that includes the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, European Union, the Government of Burundi and REGIDESO. The total cost of the project is US$270.4 million.
As efforts intensify to narrow the electricity deficits that are constraining job-led growth and economic competitiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa, projects such as the Jiji-Mulembwe hydropower project can serve as a platform for boosting energy access. This project complements earlier projects financed by the World Bank such as Rusumo Falls and rehabilitation efforts underway for the Ruzizi I and II projects. Taken together, these efforts are needed to meet the bold targets set by the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.