WASHINGTON, January 10, 2024 — Although Burundi’s economic growth is steadily improving, efforts risks stalling due to lack of access to electricity which affects households,industries, and commercial premises. Additional financing of $50 million for the BI-Jiji and Mulembwe Hydropower Project (PHJIMU) will continue support for the government’s overarching goal of boosting electricity access through three strategic areas: (i) increasing renewable energy supplies, (ii) expanding electricity access in rural areas, and (iii) sector reforms, with a strong focus on improving operational performance of the national utility (REGIDESO). The financing aims to ensure no disruptions in works that are on the critical path for commissioning the power supply.
“This project aims to supply 235 GWh/year of clean renewable energy of that will be injected into the national grid, representing almost half of the country’s current power generation,” says Rikard Liden, World Bank Lead Energy Specialist and project Task Team Leader. “The energy supplied from the hydropower facilities will replace more expensive fossil fuels in the country, therefore contributing to reducing CO2 emissions and to climate change mitigation.”
The project is also supporting critical energy sector reforms. In a context where the Government of Burundi (GoB) has developed an ambitious program to reach universal access by 2030, the Bank is actively supporting that program along with other donors and this additional financing will provide more capacity to supply additional customers that will be connected through that program.
The PHJIMU is implemented by the Production and Distribution of Water and Electricity Company (REGIDESO), the public utility, on behalf of the Government of Burundi and co-financed by the International Development Association (IDA), the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the GoB, and REGIDESO.
*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero interest loans for projects and programs designed to stimulate economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve the lives of the poorest. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development activities in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $29 billion over the last three years, with about 70 percent going to Africa.