15th April 2024
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Uganda mulls building hydro power lines to South Sudan

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Sunday, February 25, 2024

Karuma Dam in Uganda - COURTESY

Uganda reportedly plans to construct hydroelectric power transmission lines from Nwoya District to Juba following an “urgent” request from the South Sudan government.

Uganda Minister for Energy Okasaai Opolot called on electricity distributor – Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) to tape into South Sudan’s energy gap, Daily Monitor newspaper reported.

Minister Opolot reportedly said South Sudan requested about 100MW of electricity from Uganda to boost trade and industrialization, following his visit to Juba.

“I have just returned from a trip to South Sudan, and we need to construct a line from Nwoya District to Juba. It is a priority line because our brothers and sisters in South Sudan do not have electricity and their only hope is on us,” the minister said, as quoted by Monitor newspaper.

He spoke during the commissioning of an 83MW transmission line connecting Agago and Gulu this week.

“They immediately want 100MW. Theirs is a big market for our surplus electricity and we have got to see how to close that gap soon.”

In July 2023, a top South Sudanese diplomat told Eye Radio that the country will channel hydroelectricity from a dam in Uganda to South Sudan – at least before the 2024 general elections.

The initiative was strongly denounced by some members of the public who said it’s not good for a country with resources and hydro-electricity potential to be dependent on its neighbor.

In September 2023, South Sudan activated an agreement with Russia for the construction of a hydropower plant in the country.

The cooperation agreement reportedly signed in 2018, was discussed in a meeting in Moscow, a day after President Kiir met his counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

A June 2022 report published by the Business Insider Africa ranked South Sudan as the least electrified country in the continent, standing at number one among 10 countries with the least electricity access.

The report detailing nations with the least electricity access indicates that the country stands at first among the worst performing African nations in term of electricity supply.

The report shows that only 7% of the estimated 12 million people in South Sudan can access electricity.

An energy sector official in South Sudan later lamented as ‘shameful’ the fact that the country has one of the world’s least accesses to electricity and the highest electricity tariffs.

Beck Awan Deng, the Managing Director of South Sudan Electricity Corporation said the country also has the highest cost for electricity.

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