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President Kaberuka Underscores Importance of Hydro-Energy to Sustain Current Economic Growth in Africa
Kampala, 8 October 2007 – The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, has emphasized the importance of hydro-energy for Africa’s sustainable development. Mr. Kaberuka made the statement when he led a delegation of senior AfDB staff on an inspection tour of the Bujagali hydropower project construction site near Jinja, 87 km north-east of Kampala during his 3-7 October visit to Uganda.
He said that the Bujagali project was a signal to the Bank’s commitment to assist the development of Africa’s power generating infrastructure. "It is time for Africa to harness its hydro power potential," he added. He further explained that it was not possible for every country to develop its own energy supplies and called for the development of cost-effective regional power pools that can be accessed by member countries in a mutually beneficial manner.
The AfDB President emphasized that energy generation and environmental protection concerns were equally important and needed to be jointly assessed and addressed in a coordinated manner.
He expressed appreciation to the Japanese Government for working together with the Bank to develop the Bujagali Interconnection Project (BIP) and congratulated the promoters for the good work done so far and urged the contractors to complete the project on schedule.
Welcoming the AfDB delegation earlier, the Chairman of the Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL) - project promoters, Mr. Nizar Juma Salini expressed appreciation for ADB’s support to the Bujagali Hydropower and Interconnection projects. He disclosed that the government had established an Energy Fund that would be used to develop key power generating projects in the country and appealed for the Bank Group’s continued support in the sector.
The Bujagali project is estimated to cost US$ 770 million. It is expected to generate 250 MW on completion, making it the biggest private investment in East Africa and the largest independent power project in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Bank will provide US$ 110 million to the hydropower plant project and US$ 28 million to interconnection project making it the second largest funding agency in the project after the World Bank. Other financiers include development agencies, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the private sector and the government. The project is being financed on build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis.
The Japanese government last year joined the Bank Group in launching a new initiative for Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA), under which additional resources provided by Japan, would enable the Bank Group to increase its provision of technical assistance and capacity building both directly to the private sector and to key supporting institutions. Bujagali is expected to benefit from this initiative.
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Daudi Migereko; Minister of State for Investment in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka, the project’s construction manager Mr. Marco Fagiani; and local political leaders received the AfDB delegation at the Bujagali site.