6 August 2013 The World Bank today approved $340 million for a hydroelectric project that aims to benefit 62 million people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania – part of a Great Lakes regional initiative inaugurated by the Bank’s President and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their first-of-a-kind joint visit to the region in May.
The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project, which has a total cost of $468 million and an eventual 80 megawatt generation capacity, will boost reliable power supply to the electricity grids of the three countries, reduce electricity costs and promote renewable power.
It will also spur job-led economic development and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation, peace and stability among the countries of the Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) sub-region in east Africa, the Bank stated in a news release.
“This landmark project will have transformational impact, bringing lower-cost energy to homes, businesses, and clinics in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” says Colin Bruce, Director, Strategy, Operations and Regional Integration.
“By connecting grids, people and environmentally sensitive solutions, the project will help to catalyze growth and to encourage peace and stability in the sub-region.”
The project is the first operation under the World Bank Group Great Lakes Regional Initiative, which was inaugurated during the visit by Mr. Ban and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in May.
The joint visit was in support of a UN-brokered peace agreement signed earlier this year aimed at ending the cycles of conflict and crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to promote economic development in the region.
In 2011, the Bank helped to provide electricity to an additional 1.4 million people in African countries; construct and repair some 6,640 kilometres of roads; and improved water supplies for more than 8 million people.
“The Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project takes a regional approach to tackling sub-Saharan Africa’s power crisis, providing low-cost, clean, renewable energy to people in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” says Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region.
“The new power plant signals the Bank’s commitment to keeping the lights on across the African continent, necessary for achieving growth, ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity in the region.”
22 July 2013 Visiting Rwanda, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) highlighted approaches to end food insecurity in Africa that support local initiatives, long-term development and sustainability.
“Here in Rwanda, WFP is providing the life-saving food assistance that we are known for to tens of thousands of refugees, but we and our partners are also supporting community-based agriculture and livelihoods projects that assist the poorest and most vulnerable Rwandans as they build a brighter future for their families,” said the agency’s Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, at the end of her three-day visit to the country.
“When speaking with small-scale farmers and rural families, I could see very clearly the difference that rural development initiatives have made in helping people improve their lives.”
Ms. Cousin said the progress made on development in Rwanda illustrates the importance of close and effective partnerships between UN agencies, communities and government in helping in empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty.
“I met one woman farmer who started with nearly nothing, and now has become so successful that she’s been able to build her family a new house, and put her children though school,” said Ms. Cousin, who also met with displaced persons and refugees on both side of the border shared by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
During her visit, Ms. Cousin also visited the Nkamira refugee transit centre and a successful terracing and watershed management project in Rulindo district, in northern Rwanda. She also visited and spoke with farmers in eastern Rwanda who belong to an agricultural cooperative in Kirehe district through which they are selling their surplus maize and beans to WFP via the Purchase for Progress initiative, known as “P4P”.
P4P aims to use WFP’s purchasing power to help connect smallholder farmers to markets. In Rwanda, the programme has grown from a WFP project into a national initiative, boosting productivity and improving the lives and livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
Since 2011, WFP has purchased 33,000 metric tons of combined food commodities – maize and beans – worth $15.5 million, through a combination of P4P purchases and regular food procurement.
WFP and the Rwandan Government are also exploring ways to link the P4P programme to food-for-education initiatives, providing students with a daily school meal grown in their own communities and turn schools into regular customers for local farmers.
This was Ms. Cousin’s first visit to Rwanda as WFP Executive Director. While in the country, she also met with top Government officials, including Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, and with the heads of UN agencies in Rwanda.
Residents of camps for the displaced in Tawila locality, North Darfur, have reportedly been injured after being beaten, lashed, and robbed by “pro-government armed herders” on Monday and Tuesday.
One of the sheikhs of camp Rwanda told Radio Dabanga that “a group of camel herders armed by the government attacked about a thousand displaced people from the three camps of Tawila – Rwanda, Argo and Dali – as they were moving to cultivate their farms in the Jely area, 11 kilometres north of Tawila city.”
The sheikh said the people were lashed with whips, and beaten with rifle butts which caused “varying wounds”. They were also allegedly robbed of their possessions.
“The militant camel herders threatened to beat and kill the displaced if they return to cultivate the area,” the Sheikh said. “The herders claim that the area is for grazing, not for agriculture.
He demanded that the authorities intervene to protect the farmers so they do not miss out on the autumn season.
Article source: http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/53159