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Burundi: Geothermal energy development in Rift Valley countries


In its bid to assist African Rift Valley nations in the development of geothermal energy resource, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) have signed a memorandum of considerate for cooperation in the field.

According to the agreement initialed by the two parties here Wednesday, the AUC and ICEIDA will work together to develop and implement geothermal energy policy inclunding investment , regulatory and institutional guidelines, part other areas, in eleven African Rift Valley countries

In 2012, the AUC, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Improvment(BMZ) and the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund through KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW) established the 50-million-euro Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) for African Rift Valley nations to provide grants for geothermal resource exploration and drilling projects.

GRMF started with five pilot nations -- Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – and, currently, the facility covers eleven nations inclunding Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea and Zambia.

PANA reports that following the signing of the transaction with ICEIDA here Wednesday, the AUC said it was mobilising additional funds to finance projects in all these nations.

AUC’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Elham M. A. Ibrahim and ICEIDA Director General Engilbert Gudmundsson initialed the memorandum.

ICEIDA is by presently implementing a geothermal exploration project, which it jointly funds with the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) in 13 East African nations - Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DRC Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The project, which is part of a geothermal compact between the World Bank and Iceland, provides support for geothermal surface exploration and capacity building.

Possible areas of collaboration between the AUC and ICEIDA include development of geothermal database and database management plan at regional and national levels, facilitating easy accessibility for both developers and partners, and explore the potential to establish a Regional Geothermal Training Institute, with the view to providing an organised skill training and skill-development system for professionals in the geothermal energy science.

Through its Department of Infrastructure and Energy, the AUC has signed similar memoranda with the German government and EU-Infrastructure Trust Fund, the US Agency for International Development and the UN Environment Programme for development of geothermal energy resource in the Rift Valley nations.

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