What $100 million Tanzania, Uganda power project means

President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Ugandan counterpart, Mr Yoweri Museveni, tour the site of the Kikagati-Murongo hydropower station in Mbarara, Uganda on May 25, 2023. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE


  • The Kikagati HPP - is the first cross border hydropower project between Uganda and Tanzania on the Kagera river.

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Ugandan counterpart, Mr Yoweri Museveni yesterday commissioned a 14- MW Kikagati-Murongo hydropower project which is set to cement ties between the two countries even further.

The $100 million (about Sh239 billion) worth project, which is located across the Kagera River, along Uganda’s international border with Tanzania, can power over 60,000 homes from the two countries.

Works on the project which is implemented by the private company Kikagati Power Company Limited (KPCL), started way back in 2005.

However, it didn’t progress at an expected pace until 2017 when a bilateral agreement was finalised between the two countries.

Giving her remarks at the commissioning ceremony, President Hassan said the project is set to take the historical and fraternal relationship between Tanzania and Uganda to new heights.

“There is room to further improve our relations and cooperation, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, as well as cultural and social engagement,” asserted President Hassan.

The investment, she explained, will catalyse macroeconomic development of the affected areas and eventually foster macroeconomic outcomes.

“The power generated here shall improve trade and investment in this region, transport and transportation of people and goods and so is trade and social activities,” asserted President Hassan.

Further, she added, it will bridge the communication gap between the two countries.

“This power is going to bridge the communication gap between the urban and the rural settings since there are going to be connections,” said President Hassan

She went on to add: “Power is going to improve social engagement because people are going to engage now and then.

“In general power is power that is why it is called power.”

She affirmed the government’s commitment to strengthening and deepening its brotherly friendship and cooperation with Uganda.

For his part, President Museveni also expressed his commitment to working closely with Tanzania in various spheres of cooperation.

He said his government will have zero tolerance against bureaucracy that appeared to impede the implementation of various projects at high speed.

He admitted that yesterday’s commissioned project was delayed by bureaucracy.

“The project developers started making the proposal in 2005 but they were delayed by the red tapes. This is dangerous,” warned President Museveni.

He went on to add: “The political and bureaucratic classes in Africa must wake up, or else, they will be overtaken by demand of people.”

Mr Museveni thanked the fifth phase President of Tanzania, the late John Magufuli, for wasting no time and making the project materialise.

He also commended President Hassan for walking on her predecessor’s footprints.

The technology that was invested in the Kikagati-Murongo project by Berkeley Energy, has a guarantee of over 100 years.

Berkeley Energy managing director Luka Buljan said the project is key to supplying stable power into North West Tanzania and South West Uganda. This, he expounded, is a Build on, Operate and Transfer project (BOT).

“After the expiry of the 20-year power purchase agreement, the project shall be owned equally by the government of Tanzania and Uganda,” said Mr Buljan.

He underscored that under the power sharing agreement, the two countries also agreed that Tanzania would take just 2.5MW in the first three years from the commissioning date to fulfil what was expected as the lower energy demand on the North West part of the Tanzania’s grid.

Mr Buljan revealed that in December 2022 the Kikagati made an application to modify the generation license to the Ugandan Electricity Regulatory Authority in consultation with Ewura (The Tanzanian Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority) to recognise the installed capacity of 16MW from the current 14MW.

“Being a cross border project, it fits well with the East African Community (EAC) Vision 2050 and article 11 of the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC,” he asserted.

Partner states agreed among others, to cooperate in the exploitation of the renewable energy resources to supply affordable energy to their people.

Energy minister January Makamba said the two countries had a number of energy projects that they were planning, they wanted to do and they were already doing.

“For as long as we occupy the positions that we are entrusted with, we will push these projects to completion and realisation of their objectives,” said Mr Makamba.

He added: “We know that they (projects) are important to our countries and our people.”