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Burundi: African Water Facility approves €2 million for multipurpose water resources development

26 March 2024

The African Water Facility has approved a grant of about €2 million to Burundi for the “Development of Water Resources and the Ruvyironza Multi-Purpose Dam (PRODERER)” project to enhance water and food security, and boost access to electricity.

Despite being an agrarian nation, Burundi is grappling with food and energy insecurity. Around 92% of the land is used for agriculture, which serves as the primary source of livelihood and sustenance for around 90% of the population, providing 80% of jobs.

The East African nation’s energy security is also low, with a widespread lack of access to electricity (11.1% in 2020) and high production costs ($0.20/kW). Basic water, sanitation and hygiene services remain inadequate; only 62.4% of the population has access to potable water services (57.7% in rural areas, 90.7% in urban areas). An estimated 45.7% of the population has access to basic sanitation services (46.4% in rural areas, 41.3% in urban areas), and only 6.3% has access to basic hygiene services (4.1 in rural areas, 19.4% in urban areas).

The funding from the African Water Facility will facilitate the implementation of the PRODERER project, which will improve the socioeconomic resilience of populations in the project areas by increasing water, food, and energy security. The works entail several feasibility studies for hydraulic, hydro-agricultural, and hydroelectric infrastructure, including the pivotal Ruvyironza multipurpose dam in Gitega province. Expected outcomes include increased water availability for hydropower generation, irrigation and domestic consumption, alongside climate change adaptation and resilience through enhanced water storage capabilities.

Mtchera Chirwa, Coordinator of the African Water Facility, commented, “The preparation of bankable feasibility studies will lay the groundwork for the development of much-needed multipurpose water storage and supply infrastructure in Burundi. This will help to strengthen water security in the region, leading to improved livelihoods, health outcomes, and adaptation and resilience to climate change.”

Anticipated outcomes of the infrastructure development entail the generation of 22 megawatts of hydroelectricity, and ensuring water and sanitation services for over 270,000 rural households in the provinces most affected by the lack of water supply – Cankuzo, Gitega, Karuzi, Muyinga and Ruyigi. The project will also establish an irrigated perimeter spanning 14,674 hectares alongside efforts to restore degraded upstream watersheds.

An additional 417,000 people in the urban areas of Gitega, Muyinga, Cankuzo and Karuzi will benefit, particularly from investments in drinking water accessibility, energy generation and distribution. Fifteen agents from the relevant ministries will receive training. A projected total of 681,546 people, 50% of whom are women, will benefit. The project is expected to generate 244 jobs during the preparation phase, and 5,000 to 7,200 jobs during downstream investments.

Burundi’s Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock will implement the project with technical support from the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme over 24 months, starting in March 2024.

PRODERER aligns with the African Water Facility's 2017-2025 strategy and resonates with three of the African Development Bank's High-5s: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa. It also aligns with the strategic water pillars of Burundi's 2019-2023 Country Strategy Paper and reflects Pillars I and II of the country’s Strategic Framework on Climate Change and Green Growth 2021-2030.



Mary Ajayi, Communication Advsior, [email protected]