- The hydropower project, benefiting 60,000 homes, marks an important milestone in cross-border infrastructure projects and signifies the utilization of the Kagera River’s untapped potential, with prospects for further development in the region.
In a collaborative effort, President Museveni of Uganda and Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu recently commissioned a 14-Megawatt Kikagate-Murongo Hydropower project intended not just to provide electricity but also to bolster development between the two countries.
The project which cost $100 million under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreement between the two East African nations, was built by the Berkeley Energy firm. The site of the project is located along the Kagera River at the border of Uganda and Tanzania and has been in the works since 2017.
During the commissioning, President Museveni tasked African leaders to be more intuitive with development, otherwise, other people privy to the profitability that lay in development would take the opportunity from them. He stated, “Political and bureaucratic classes of Africa must wake up or be overtaken by the determined people who want development. The potential for development is there but most times these people are in arguments.”
Additionally, he noted that disputes continue to hinder intercontinental development and collaborations in Africa, as this same issue had hindered this project. He noted that the project void of any disagreements would have begun in 2005 and as such would have long been in use by now.
“I’m not part of this argument of who takes more power; if Tanzania needs the power more, they can take it because they will not take it free. What is the problem? So, if they wanted two megawatts originally and now, they want four, I will grant them. If they want all 16 megawatts, they can as well take it but they will pay.” he said.
The project once completed would benefit 60,000 homes across both countries as Berkeley collects tariffs for the next 20 years before handing over the facility for further management by the two governments.
Museveni claimed that despite the two nations’ lengthy history of underutilizing the River Kagera’s potential, there were still prospects for its development, which drew the government of Rwanda to a similar proposal.
One of the first significant cross-border infrastructure projects between Tanzania and Uganda is this one. “It’s good that we’re beginning to utilize the potential of the Kagera River,” Museveni said, adding: “The 11 miles downstream from the location is Nshungezi where there are 38 megawatts to benefit Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.”
“It’s a big honor to have President Samia Suluhu Hassan come here for the first time in this area. You have been to other parts of Uganda, but never here. We are very lucky, and I welcome you here,” he added.
In response, she said, “I’m always happy to note that our historical fraternal relations continue to improve day by day and of course, there is wider room to further make improvements to our relationship and cooperation, particularly in areas of trade and investment as well as cultural and social engagements.”