The European Union has announced a 60 million euro ($63 million) investment in the refurbishment of one of the country’s largest hydropower plants.
This initiative not only addresses the country’s energy needs but also contributes to the realization of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The Nalubaale and Kiira hydropower plant complex, located at the source of the River Nile in Jinja, East Uganda, is a vital component of the country’s power generation.
Commissioned in 1954, this facility has been a cornerstone of Uganda’s energy production, with an output capacity of approximately 380 megawatts (MW). South African energy giant Eskom previously operated the plant under a 20-year concession, which concluded earlier this year, leading to the government’s regaining control.
Jan Sadek, the European Union’s ambassador to Uganda, revealed this substantial investment during a mining conference in the capital city, Kampala. Sadek emphasized the project’s importance in providing reliable energy to support Uganda’s industrialization. However, details such as the commencement date of the rehabilitation works and the nature of the funding (whether it will be in the form of a grant or credit) were not disclosed.
This investment aligns with the EU’s global gateways strategy, a program designed to support initiatives that contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In this case, the focus is on improving Uganda’s energy infrastructure, which has faced challenges due to underfunding and the aging of certain network components. These challenges have resulted in widespread power outages and occasional breakdowns, adversely impacting both businesses and households.
Uganda currently possesses an installed capacity of around 1,400 MW, primarily derived from its hydroelectric dams. With the commissioning of the Chinese-built Karuma plant later this year, also located on the River Nile, the country’s total power generation capacity is expected to increase to 2,000 MW. This boost in capacity is a positive sign for Uganda’s economic growth and development.
The EU’s commitment to investing in the rehabilitation of the Nalubaale and Kiira hydropower plant complex is a welcome development for Uganda, as it promises to enhance the country’s energy production and support its ongoing industrialization efforts.
The initiative reflects the EU’s dedication to global sustainable development and reinforces the significance of international cooperation in addressing energy and infrastructure challenges in emerging economies.