Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye (C) , Burundi Minister for Hydraulic, Energy and Mines Ibrahim Uwizeye (L) and Chinese ambassador to Burundi Zhao Jiangping officially launch the Ruzibazi hydropower station in Ruzibazi, Burundi. (Courtesy of Moses Havyarimana/Handout via Xinhua)

BUJUMBURA– Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye on Tuesday inaugurated the Ruzibazi hydropower dam constructed with Chinese financial and technical assistance.

The ceremony that took place at Ruzibazi, southwestern Burundi and 43 km south of the commercial capital of Bujumbura, was also attended by many other dignitaries including Chinese Ambassador to Burundi Zhao Jiangping and other Burundian authorities. 

It was also an opportunity for President Ndayishimiye to hand over certificates of honor to seven Chinese nationals who contributed to the construction of the Ruzibazi hydropower dam with a combined installed capacity of 15 MW. 

“The construction of this hydropower dam is a result of traditional bilateral relations between China and Burundi. We’re very thankful,” said Burundian President Ndayishimiye in his remarks.

According to him, cooperation between Burundi and China has always been good since 1963 when the two countries sealed bilateral cooperation. 

“China has been accompanying us (Burundi) in all our projects. China actively supports us in the farming sector through the development of the seed industry and the development of the fishing industry,” said Ndayishimiye. 

He indicated that the construction of the Ruzibazi hydropower dam testifies to China’s commitment to accompanying Burundi in boosting production in agriculture and other sectors because energy is needed in everyone’s life. 

Ndayishimiye specified that China has accompanied Burundi in a sincere and fraternal way, in the process of integral development since the beginning of diplomatic relations between both countries in 1963.  

Chinese Ambassador to Burundi Zhao Jiangping commended the cooperation existing between Burundi and China. 

“I feel immense joy today as I participate in this ceremony of inaugurating this hydropower dam,” said Zhao, stressing that the ceremony has an important meaning for the cooperation between China and Burundi characterized by sincerity and fraternity. 

She said that the Chinese company that constructed the Ruzibazi hydropower dam faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the speed of constructing the dam. 

“The completion of the construction of this hydropower dam testifies the result of tight cooperation between Burundi and China. I am very glad to see the end of activities of its construction despite COVID-19 challenges,” said Zhao. 

The construction of the Ruzibazi hydropower project started in 2018 and according to President Ndayishimiye, the completion of the construction activities has met the planned deadline.

All three generating units at the hydropower project have gone on stream since July. – Xinhua