The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) has urged the South Sudanese government to provide resources and security for the construction of a power transmission line that will link the country to Uganda and the regional power grid.
Jacob Manyuon Deng, the NBI’s regional power programme officer, said that the project would help South Sudan, which has one of the world’s lowest electrification rates, with only 6 percent of the population having access to electricity.
He said that the project, funded by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, aims to improve electricity access and promote regional integration among the Nile Basin countries.
“We are now working on the South Sudan-Uganda line, which is in advanced stages of detailed studies,” he said. “It is a 400-kilovolt line that connects South Sudan and Uganda and this line will transport the abundant hydro potential to parts of South Sudan. If this line is built, it will transmit power from the East Africa power pool.”
Manyuon said that the project will also boost the region’s stability and security by fostering cooperation and trade among the Nile Basin countries.
He said that the project, which started in 2018, has faced some challenges due to the insecurity and lack of resources in South Sudan. He urged the government to allocate funds and deploy security forces to protect the contractors and their equipment.
“South Sudan is a very underdeveloped country and we have only 6% power access because we do not have power in the country,” he said. “What we have is a very small capacity that was developed by a private investor called Ezra. We need moral support, we need resources to be injected into this project so that South Sudan can benefit from the region. The South Sudanese government is supposed to support the NBI in terms of resources and security so that the construction of this line is accelerated.”
Manyuon said that the project is expected to be completed by 2025 and that South Sudan will be able to import up to 400 megawatts of electricity from Uganda. He also said that the project will create jobs and stimulate economic activities in the areas where the power line will pass.
The project involves building a 400-kilovolt transmission line from Karuma in Uganda to Juba in South Sudan, with a total length of 392 kilometers. The project also includes building substations and distribution networks in Nimule, Yei, Kaya, and Juba.
The project will also reduce the reliance on diesel generators, which are expensive and harmful to the environment.
The NBI is a regional intergovernmental partnership of 10 Nile Basin countries: Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.