The Rusumo Falls “’
where a new US$450
million hydroelectric
project is being built
 
Kampala, Uganda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 19 December 2011 – Civil society organisations within the Nile basin initiative (NBI) have challenged development partners and international financial institutions to consider directing more support towards the development of renewable energy in the region.

The civil societies under the umbrella body of the Nile Basin Discourse [NBD] have also pushed for more capital injection into the development of solar energy, wind and geothermal power, instead of concentrating on hydroelectric power.

“Development partners are funding the multi-billion-dollar sub-region hydro power and interconnection projects of the NBI countries. But 60% of the local communities cannot be connected to this high voltage grid,” said NBD vice-chairman Wesley Chirchir.

“Over-dependence on hydroelectric power may not produce any significant impact because it is highly affected by changes in climate and environmental degradation. In order for all communities to benefit, let the implementing agencies and funders consider other means of energy that are conducive for the local people,” reads part of the recommendations.

Chirchir also called on development partners and international financial institutions to include rural electrification projects in their major interconnection power lines, as that would also take care of the interests of the local communities.

These demands come at a time when NBI countries are close to implementing the regional power trade programme, which aims to facilitate the development of an integrated regional power grid inter-connection to all its member states.

The NBI secretariat is already funding the construction of the US$450 million regional Rusumo Falls hydropower project, whose power lines are in: Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.