The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project is an under implementation project that was launched on the 30th, March, 2017 with an installed capacity of 80 MW (Run of River Scheme at 1320masl) that will be shared equally among Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The power generation infrastructure is located at Rusumo Falls at the border of Tanzania and Rwanda. The transmission lines will extend from the power generation plant to Gitega in Burundi, Kigali in Rwanda, and Nyakanazi in Tanzania. The project will develop renewable hydroelectric power as part of a broader program to support sustainable management of the Kagera River Basin and promote growth and poverty reduction. NELSAP is the Hydro Project on behalf of the three countries.

Figure 1 The expected look of Rusumo Dam&power station upon completion in 2019

This project will provide more electricity to growing Town Centers while ensuring that environmental aspects are well managed and benefits of shared power are produced. The project upon completion will facilitate increased economic activities, private sector development, and investments in social infrastructure and services through improved access to electricity.

The project has three components:

  1. A hydroelectric power generation plant at the Rusumo Falls of -80MW capacity to be shared among the three countries,

The setting up of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) the Rusumo Power Company Limited is complete. The project is worth US$340Million and US$128Million that have advanced to the countries as a loan from the World Bank and African Development Bank for the implementation of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric project and the Power transmission lines respectively.

The compensation of the affected persons by the project has been completed on both sides of Rwanda and Tanzania. The Dam construction contractor has completed site mobilization while the electromechanical equipment contractor is designing the equipment. The expected Dam will be commissioned in 2020 providing 26MW of electricity to Rwanda.

Additional pipeline of investment projects have been prioritized by countries under the NELSAP portfolio projects, which some of them covering Rwanda; feasibility study of the Akanyaru Cascade of Dams and Akanyaru Multipurpose project are part of the portfolio.

As part of bringing quick benefits to the community in the project site neighbourhoods (in Ngoma and Kirehe districts), the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project has allocated USD5million to the people through the two District Councils to implement different community development projects (agriculture (irrigation) and livestock, construction of new health centres, & road rehabilitation) through the Local Area Development Program. The projects will deliver direct benefits to the people around the expected hydropower generation plan.

The Project has started the implementation of the livelihood restoration program for the affected people by Rusumo project in the Kirehe District. A budget of USD302,862 has been approved for the activities and the first disbursement sent to Kirehe District to implement planned activities.

By Doreen Nakure

One River One People One Vision

The Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) is one of two investment programs under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is a partnership of the riparian states effective 1999; it seeks to develop the river in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security through its shared vision... Read more

NELSAP Mission:to contribute to the eradication of poverty, promotion of economic growth, and reversal of environmental degradation” in the Nile Equatorial Lakes Region.

What we do

Water Resources Management and Development Sub-programs

NELSAP-CU within its mandate facilitates jointly agreed transformative in-country and trans boundary projects with regional significance or impacts, related to the common use of the Nile Basin water resources for the benefit of all riparian countries. The investment projects prioritized have the greatest benefit to the water, food, energy and environment sectors, improve rural livelihoods while having the least impact on the natural flow of the Nile River.

NELSAP contributes to water security through evidence- catchment-based planning, enhanced storage, and more efficient (management) use of water resources, increased investment and better protection of the natural resource base, maintenance and protection of the watershed and improvement of water productivity.






Power Development and Trade Sub-program

The Power Trade and Development is one of the NELSAP Subprograms that comprises projects that are developed in line with the overall goal of NELSAP - To contribute to the eradication of the poverty and promote economic growth by increasing access to electricity in the NEL Region. Access to affordable and reliable electricity is a priority for the NEL countries’ economies because it is a prerequisite to poverty reduction and socio-economic growth. A Majority of NEL countries have low access to electricity primarily due to limited power trade in the region at present. This situation has brought the Member States in the region to commit to regional integration of their electricity grids. An integrated Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) power market holds the promise of increasing access, improving reliability and affordability of power supply to each member country. Read more about NELSAP power projects that are either in the pipeline or ongoing and those that have been completed so far, to achieve this aim of regional power security.