East Africa: Regional Power Pool Starts in 2011
August 22, 2007 - Samuel Otieno And Samson Ntale
- All Africa Global Media
Ugandan President, Mr Yoweri Museveni, said the strategy
is to build grid interconnections to enable power
flow from places of abundance to power deficit areas.
The Aga Khan and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
at Bujagali Hydropower project, 90Km east of Kampala
in Mukono District. The power plant will provide 250
mega watts. Picture by George Mulala
"Over a short
period of time, we are going to link with other three
East African Community countries to form the pool
which will enable the countries to serve each other
incase of power deficit," said Museveni.
He was speaking
in Jinja on Tuesday during the laying of the foundation
stone for the Bujagali Hydropower project, which was
also part of the 50th anniversary of His Highness,
the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili
The East African Power Pool project is expected to
be operational by 2011 once the required infrastructure
is in place. Plans are also underway to incorporate
Rwanda, Burundi and the DR Congo, Museveni said.
Khan regretted Africa's failure to exploit its hydropower
Currently, Uganda imports up to 20 MW of power from
Kenya following the drop of water levels at the River
Nile. The drop has led to a severe 12-hour electricity
load-shedding daily in Uganda, resulting in a slow
down in economic growth. The Aga Khan said the problem
extends well beyond Uganda, noting that Africa produces
only four per cent of the world's electricity. Bujagali
is being constructed by Italian firm, Salini. "It
has been difficult to inject huge private investment
capital in Africa. This, a milestone that will ensure
shortages of dependable power, is history East Africa,"
the Aga Khan said.
Africa's failure to exploit its hydropower potential.
Africa's is a sixth of the of the world population,
but generates only four per cent of the world energy,
much of which is produced in North and South Africa.
"The great issue of development, everywhere in the
world, is whether the power supply will grow more
quickly than the economy, or whether the economic
growth will outstrip the power supply," he said. Largest
single infrastructure investment
Museveni said the
project is the largest single infrastructure investment
of the Aga Khan Development Network worldwide.
analyst and a co-author of various studies on the
impact of energy loss in Uganda, Mr Lukule said: "Bujagali
is critical to our long-term economic plans. After
it, plans to develop more power projects must be expedited".
The project will be completed within 44-months, with
the first 50MW unit to be fed in the national grid
within 36 months, said Dr Kevin Karuiki of Investment
It is financed by the International
Finance Corporation ($130million), European Investment
Bank Euros ($100 million, Africa Development Bank
($110million), and commercial banks Barclays and Standard
Chartered jointly extending loans amounting to $115
"Premised on Build, Own, and Transfer (BOT)
principle, the Bujagali power project is based on
a 30 year Power Purchase Agreement with Uganda Electricity
Transmission Company," Karuiki said.