Downtown Bujumbura just got a little brighter, thanks to an innovative partnership between Mayor Freddy MBONIMPA and Gigawatt Global, a founding member of United States Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid program.
This week solar-powered ‘light islands’ began appearing in the heavily-trafficked central bus station and nearby marketplace, extending commercial hours and personal safety.
“The city of Bujumbura is very pleased to be working with Gigawatt Global on this important solar street lighting project,” said Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa.
“This project will enhance security as well as provide opportunities for economic development to the citizens of Bujumbura. It is the hope and wish of all involved that this project can spread throughout the city, as well as expand to other cities in Burundi within the near future.”
“We are grateful and pleased to work with the city of Bujumbura, and the Honorable Mayor Freddy MBONIMPA to realise this important first step of the solar street lighting project,” says Michael Fichtenberg, Managing Director of Gigawatt Global Burundi.
“We intend to expand throughout the capital and to other locations as part of our larger program of green electrification in Burundi, with 40 ‘light islands’ planned in the first phase of the program,” continues Fichtenberg.
“Every country in which we develop commercial scale solar fields will receive additional benefits like these ‘light islands’ and rural electrification with mini-grids.”
Gigawatt Global, which provides 100% financing for its projects, pioneered commercial scale solar power plants in sub-Sahara Africa, launching the first one in Rwanda in 2014, which is currently supplying 6% of the country’s generation capacity. Gigawatt Global will complete a 7.5 Mw solar field in the Gitega region of Burundi in the next six months, which will supply 15% of the East African country’s generation capacity. Similar projects are currently being developed in 10 African countries, including Liberia and South Sudan, among many others.
“Over 95% of Burundi’s 11 million people lack access to electricity. Gigawatt Global is honoured to play a role in advancing economic and social development through green power in the country,” says Josef Abramowitz, Gigawatt Global Chief Executive Officer.
“By expanding our investments from commercial scale projects to include off-grid installations, we are positively impacting the lives of millions of people in Burundi and throughout Africa, and are becoming a leading force in green energy projects across the continent.”
“God bless the people of Burundi,” says Goldberg.
“In Bujumbura, we found a place ripe for innovation and open to economic development.”
Gigawatt Global launches its off-grid programmes in Africa with the initial phase roll-out in Bujumbura