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Burundi: Nigeria may finance Mpanda hydroelectric dam

The Nigerian government is examining the possibility of financing the construction of a 10.4MW hydroelectric dam at Mpanda, in the Bubanza province.
Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the Burundian authorities discussed the $33m project during a late February donors’ conference in Bujumbura. The World Bank says a feasibility study for the project carried out by Hydroplan and Fichtner in 1997 needs to be updated. The project is part of list presented in 2002 by Burundi's former Energy and Mines Minister Mathias Hitimana to President Olusegun Obasanjo. Nigeria was prepared to finance this project and others through a deal by which Abuja would borrow $243m from the African Development Bank and Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (Badea) and then make a loan to Burundi to help Bujumbura clear its debts with these multilateral banks and finance projects. Beside the Mpanda power station, the list also included the second phase of the Nyemanga power station ($2.5m), according to plans drawn by Lahmeyer International and EdF

International, the renovation of the low-medium voltage grid in Bujumbura ($10m), expansion of the Bujumbura grid ($2m), extending electricity supply to 14 villages ($6.5m) and doubling the capacity of the Buhinga hydroelectric station ($0.5m). However, plans were put on hold after former President Pierre Buyoya’s decision in early July 2002 to sack Hitimana, who had negotiated the deal and claimed to be a close friend of Obasanjo. Relations with Nigeria have improved since Buyoya’s departure in April 2003 and his replacement at the head of the transitional government by Domitien Ndayizeye. In late 2004, former Burundian trade minister Thomas Minani concluded an agreement with Abuja for a 15,000 b/d quota of Nigerian crude at a preferential price for Burundi. According to Burundian officials, Obasanjo agreed to increase the oil quota last February during a meeting with Vice President Alice Nzomukunda in Abuja.


Additional information:
News date: 01/05/2006

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