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World Bank sets $340mn for Africa Great Lakes project

Project will provide 80 MW of power to people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania

AFP/PTI  |  Washington 

The World Bank has given final approval of a $340 million financing package for a crucial hydroelectric power plant in Africa's Great Lakes region long delayed by ethnic conflict.

The World Bank Board of executive directors signed off, yesterday on the financing for the nearly $470 million Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project, which will provide 80 megawatts of power to people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The run-of-the-river hydropower plant was supposed to be finished several years ago, but has been delayed by fighting between different ethnic groups in the area.

The Bank said the financing would be split evenly between the three countries, as will the power produced by the plant.

The power will help serve 62 million people in a region where less than 15 per cent of the people have access to electricity.

"This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania," said Colin Bruce, World Bank director for Strategy, Operations and Regional Integration.

"The new power plant signals the Bank's commitment to keeping the lights on across the African continent, necessary for achieving growth, ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity in the region," said Jamal Saghir, the bank's director for sustainable development in Africa.

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First Published: Wed, August 07 2013. 08:00 IST