The long-running project is expected to increase electricity trading between the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC), which covers Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, through the supply of reliable and sustainable clean energy.
It entails the construction of a run-of-river dam on the Ruzizi River between DRC and Rwanda downstream of Lake Kivu and from the Ruzizi II hydropower dam, a 147mw power plant and an 8.3km, 220kV transmission line.
The project is also supported by the French development agency Agence française de développement, European Investment Bank, World Bank, KfW and the European Union.
Energie des Grands Lacs (EGL), an international organisation formed under the ECGLC, signed the contract to develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain the project to a consortium backed by private equity firm Blackstone and the Aga Khan Development Network in September 2014. Negotiations began in 2012.
The overall cost of the investment is estimated at $650m, of which 60% shall be financed via concessionary financing granted by the international financial institutions supporting the project.
Financial close was expected between the end of 2015 and mid-2016, with construction to commence in 2016. French firm Gide is advising the authority.