Gitega/Mubuga, Burundi – 9 May 2023: President Ndayishimiye of Burundi today visited Gigawatt Global’s solar power plant in Mubuga, Burundi, near the capital Gitega, the nation’s first utility-scale solar field.
The high-profile celebratory event was attended in-person and remotely by dozens of foreign diplomats including the ambassadors of the United States, Holland and others, as well as representatives of the project partners and local dignitaries. During the visit, President Ndayishimiye and Gigawatt Global CEO Yosef Abramowitz announced their intention to double the generating capacity near the currently operating plant. [ A recording of the event can be seen at this link, using passcode y00UMiA! ]
President Ndayishimiye said at the ceremony: “Today we celebrate economic and climate progress in Burundi, which is open to direct foreign investment to catalyze economic growth for our people. We invite the international community to follow the lead of our partners at Gigawatt Global, Inspired Evolution, REPP and DFC and develop projects, especially in the agricultural sector. We have excellent soil for tea and coffee and an industrious population. And thanks to this solar field, and my agreement to double the size of it, we have increased energy security that can reliably run agro-businesses.”
Built through a multinational effort, the pioneering 7.5 MW solar PV plant near the village of Mubuga has been in operation since May 2021 and now provides over 10% of Burundi’s electricity, supplying clean power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
The plant supports international efforts to increase renewables and climate finance, especially for the world’s most vulnerable communities.
A small business and community center powered by solar energy providing access to productive use of electricity locally, is also moving forward. This ‘Energy Hub’, for which land and funding are being secured, will promote community development through women’s empowerment and youth and employment programs, along with various educational components developed in conjunction with local and international NGOs.
The six-year process of developing and building Burundi’s first solar plant was led by Gigawatt Global, an award-winning green energy developer and independent power producer for Africa. Financing for the construction of the project was provided via a consortium including pan-African private equity investor Inspired Evolution via its Evolution II Fund, the UK government-funded Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP – managed by Camco), and Gigawatt Global. Political risk insurance and refinancing of construction debt is being led by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
UK Ambassador to Burundi, Omar Daair, said: “Today’s celebration of Burundi’s first grid-connected solar farm follows an extraordinary international effort to increase renewables and climate finance in one of the world’s most vulnerable countries. This pioneering solar project, proudly supported through UK international climate finance, has increased Burundi’s generation capacity by over 10% and is helping propel the country towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.”
Additional support for the project was provided directly and indirectly from the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP – a fund set up by Finland, the UK and Austria) and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO). Trinity International has advised the Gigawatt Global and Inspired Evolution equity teams since 2017. Engineering, procurement and construction services were provided by French firm Voltalia.
Gigawatt Global Burundi SA Managing Director Michael Fichtenberg said: “This project demonstrates how the world community can realize shared development goals by utilizing international financing facilities best suited for frontier and emerging markets.”
Gigawatt Global CEO Yosef Abramowitz said: “We thank our impact investors and strategic partners, as well as the Burundi government, for joining forces to accomplish this historic milestone fulfilling many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Burundi. President Ndashimiye is demonstrating the sort of leadership which will encourage additional foreign direct investment from us and our investment and development finance partners. Burundi’s business climate is continuing to improve and we are confident that we can continue to power their growth.”
Abramowitz, who was nominated by 12 African countries for the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering commitment to green energy access, continued: “Green energy projects that serve the most vulnerable communities should be prioritized by the international community, and we hope many of the new international financing consortiums will partner with us to scale these impactful projects in the Least Development Countries.”
The Burundi field received the award for “Project of the Year” from EEP (https://eepafrica.org/gigawatt-2020-project-of-the-year/)
Burundi President, Évariste Ndayishimiye, signs his support for Gigawatt Global’s green energy investments in Burundi as U.S. Ambassador Melanie Harris Higgins looks on along with Michael Fichtenberg, Gigawatt Global Burundi Managing Director, and Yosef Abramowitz, Gigawatt Global CEO, at the May 9 2023 historic ribbon cutting ceremony of the 7.5MW Mubuga solar field
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