The inauguration ceremony, which took place on the eve of celebrations marking 50 years of Uganda’s independence, was attended by government officials, heads of State from across Africa (President Pierre Nkurunziza – Burundi, President Salva Kiir – Southern Sudan, President Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, international dignitaries (Secretary General of the East African Community and Secretary General of the Great Lakes region), Members of the Diplomatic Community and distinguished guests. As the guest of honour, President Museveni of Uganda and His Highness the Aga Khan planted a tree during the inauguration of Bujagali Hydropower Project, which provides 250 MW of clean and reliable electricity powering the country’s future. The function was held at Bujagali Hydro power station located in Kikubamutwe village on Kayunga Road. The LC V Chairperson Buikwe District welcomed all persons present in their different capacities for having endeavoured to attend the historic commissioning of Bujagali hydro power project. Thanked AgaKhan for economic development and BEL for the investments and strengthening of local governance. He highlighted some of the community development activities implemented by BEL in the areas of education, health, fishing, agriculture, water and environment. He assured the guest of honour that the people of Buikwe will ensure maximum protection for the project and also recommended Salini Constructori for other projects. On behalf of BEL and its shareholders, Chairman BEL (Nizar Juma) was greatly honored to welcome His Excellency, His Highness the Aga Khan and many distinguished guests. It was his enormous gratification to see that all guests had come from various parts of Africa and from all over the world to witness the inauguration ceremony, for the largest independent power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. What makes it even more special is the fact that it came as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the independence of the Republic of Uganda. The Bujagali Power Station is equivalent to an eleven storey building from the foundation to the rooftop. The dam itself is one kilometre long and consumed 320,000 cubic meters of concrete, 15,000 tonnes of steel and 580,000 cubic meters of rock for the dam embankment. At the peak of construction, over 3,000 men and women worked on the project. Thanked the lenders; for their commitment, support and confidence in the project. The debt finance totals 702 million U S Dollars.
Bujagali hydro power project was funded by a number of lenders: World Bank Group, including FIC, MIGA & IDA, European Investment Bank (EIB), African Development Bank (AfDB), AFD/Proparco, FMO, KfW/DEG, Barclays/ABSA Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
According to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, commissioning is one of the best gifts we have received as a country and Bujagali project is among the biggest projects in Sub Saharan Africa..” she further applauded the stakeholders (Ministerial Team, Consultants, Sponsors, Project Lenders and Contractors – Salini Constructori) who have guided and supported the project from the beginning up to date. She added that the ministry won an award for promoting the Bujagali Project, and that the ministry would collect the award from the London Stock Exchange in December 2012. The Transmission lines were funded by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and Africa Development Bank (ADB). She concluded her speech by inviting the His Highness Aga Khan to address the audience. His Highness The Aga Khan considered this occasion of great significance and an inspiring model on how such change can be achieved. His Highness Aga Khan acknowledged the community around the project, the scientists and engineers, as well as the government of President Museveni. He said Bujagali is a Ugandan success story and won’t stop delivering electricity but would continue to improve on the lives of the community. Bujagali represents one of the largest privately- funded power sector investments ever made in Sub- Saharan Africa and sets a unique precedent for public-private partnerships. The plant will be operated by Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL), a company established by the project sponsors and the government of Uganda for the sole purpose of developing and subsequently operating the plant for a 30-year period, following which it will be transferred to the government of Uganda for a nominal price of US one dollar. “At its heart, the Bujagali project is a Ugandan project. It is a Ugandan success story and I would like to thank the President for having led this initiative in a way where this unique public private partnership was able to move forward,” said His Highness the Aga Khan at the ceremony. “This project has not stopped at the delivery of energy. It is investing in education, healthcare and social development, and all those aspects which improve the quality of life of people who live within the ambit of the project. I think this is an important lesson to be learnt, because ultimately the goal is to improve the quality of life of people in the most complete manner possible,” he further added.
H.E. President Yoweri Museveni of the Republic of Uganda emphasized the importance of the Bujagali Plant and a stable, reliable and plentiful electricity supply, to the welfare and development of Uganda and its people. He criticized African past leaders and intellectuals for neglecting the energy sector a crucial tool for social transformation and modernization.
He thanked the project partners for having delivered the plant on schedule and commended His Highness for his role in establishing a successful consortium. He added that Uganda could witness load shedding in the next two years unless other power projects are initiated. He asked Aga Khan to get him investors who will add value to Uganda’s produce.
He said that he is ready to embrace developmental projects as long as they are completed within the stipulated timeframe. Bujagali hydro power project should have been completed 15years ago. That is why; the government of Uganda has initiated an energy fund so that we are not put at ransom by external funders. On the issue of Karuma dam, he said government has the money to construct but it has been delayed by the issues disputed by the bidders and is going to follow up the matter. In his own words, he said, “it is now my pleasure to commission Bujagali dam while unveiling the stone. View in pictures