Tunis, 25 September 2009 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessionary window of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved, Friday, 25 September 2009 in Tunis, a grant of 30 million Unit of Accounts (UA), equivalent to 47 million USD, to finance the Bugesera Natural Region Rural Infrastructure Project (Bugesera PAIR).
The overall objective of the project is to help reduce poverty. Its specific objective is to improve food security in Bugesera region by increasing agricultural production. PAIR activities will begin in 2010 and will span six years. The project impact area is the cross border region astride Rwanda and Burundi and particularly around Lakes Rweru and Cyohoha and Akanyaru marshlands which are shared by both countries, as well as their watersheds. The total project cost is estimated at UA 30 million (equivalent to FRW 26 340 million or FBU 55 185 million).
The population of the project area is estimated at 834 000 (274,000 for the district of Bugesera in Rwanda and 560, 000 for the Kirundo province in Burundi). The project will help to improve food security in the area by building irrigation infrastructure, access roads and storage facilities, increasing agricultural production and conserving water and the soil.
Bugesera region has suffered serious food insecurity for some years now. Due to high population growth and increasing need for arable land, natural forests have been partly destroyed leading to severe erosion. Soils washed from hillsides are deposited in lakes, silting them in the process. These three factors (deforestation, erosion and silting of lakes), combined with irregular and insufficient rainfall, contribute to falling agricultural output.
To overcome these constraints, the governments of Rwanda and Burundi decided to design the Bugesera Rural Infrastructure Support Project. The multinational character of the project finds justification in:
- The use of the shared water resources of Lakes Cyohoha and Rweru and of the Akanyaru marshland: since these are shared resources, they must be used in a concerted and joint manner;
- The urgent need to protect the ecosystems of these zones: such protection should be done through water and soil conservation works which can only be efficient if they are carried out on all the watersheds concerned and thus on both sides of the border. In other words, the impact of ecosystem protection and conservation action can only be significant if such conservation works are conducted in a synchronized and concurrent manner by the two countries;
- Both countries have prepared and signed an agreement to implement the project, thus demonstrating their commitment to ensure joint and concerted use of cross border waters.
The project will benefit both countries. If the activities envisaged under the project were to be implemented only in one of the countries, their impact would be limited in terms of the conservation of the Nile basin ecosystems, in general, and the shared water between the two countries, in particular.
The project area comprises the Bugesera natural region that bestrides Rwanda and Burundi, and especially around the two major cross-border lakes (Rweru and Cyohoha) and the Akanyaru marshland shared between the two countries.
* UA 1 = USD 1.56606 = RWF 889.687 = BIF 121.153 as at 25/09/2009