Uganda will export electricity to South Sudan after officials from both governments signed an agreement to build power lines to the border towns of Nimule, Kaya and Kajo-Keji.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development in Kampala on Monday, the minister of state for energy, Simon D’Ujanga, said Uganda will extend 132kV power lines from Lira to Arua.
This will boost the current 33KV power line to South Sudan. He said Uganda enjoys a cordial relationship with its northern neighbour, and therefore it only makes business sense to contribute to South Sudan’s economic progress for the benefit of both countries.
“Under the East African Community framework, cross-border electrification is highly promoted to provide electricity to our people living at the borders for economic, social and household use in order to enhance their socio-economic development,” D’Ujanga said.
D’Ujanga said this MOU is not the first as Uganda already has similar agreements with Rwanda and Tanzania, where it shares electricity with its two southern neighbours.
The minister also revealed that feasibility studies are already being undertaken for Uganda to build a 400kv power line from the 600MW Karuma hydropower dam to South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.
Speaking at the same function, Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol, the minister of Energy and Dams in South Sudan, hailed Uganda for the decision to extend electricity to the border towns. He said this will spur economic activity in these areas and reduce on the number of South Sudanese refugees fleeing to Uganda.
“I want to appreciate the hospitality extended to us by the people of Uganda… this project is going to have a lot of impact on our people residing at the border who, before the war, were about 130,000 but now are about 30,000. This will relieve Uganda of the burden of refugees,” Mathok said.
“We are going to work out mechanisms to see that we implement what we have signed,” he added.
Mathok revealed that his government is doing whatever it takes to end the war that is currently raging in the different parts of the country to allow for the commencement of laying of the infrastructure for more electricity supply.
Asked about the cost of the project, D’Ujanga said the two countries are going to set up a joint technical committee that will draw up plans and arrive at the figure of how much will be needed to see the project to fruition.