South Sudan plans to spend up implementation of several bilateral agreements reached with neighboring Uganda and Ethiopia on transmission of power to its border areas to boost economic recovery efforts, a government official said on Tuesday.
Dhieu Mathok, minister of energy and dams, said they have already reached an agreement with Uganda to connect the border towns of Kaya, Nimule and Kajo Keji and are now finalizing a power-purchase agreement that will enable transmission of electricity from the 600 MW Karuma dam in Uganda.
"We signed the MoU and translated it into bilateral agreement and we are now supposed to sign the power-purchase agreement because Uganda said that they will take responsibility for the costs but they will recover their money from the (tariff) collection," Mathok told journalists in Juba.
He disclosed that the electricity transmission line from Karuma to Nimule-Juba is being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
"They gave us money for feasibility studies, we are now trying to find a company to do the feasibility studies and then we look for a company that can do transmission from Nimule to Juba," he said.
Mathok said the border electrification project was initiated by Ugandan leader Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and President Salva Kiir to support resettlement of refugees living in neighboring Uganda after fleeing conflict in December 2013.
He revealed that the country has huge potential in terms of energy and electricity once developed as it's in the process of searching for investors to help revive its ambitious project of developing five major hydropower projects that include the Fula Rapids 42 MW, Grand Fula 890 MW, Shukolli 230 MW, Lakki 410 MW and Bedden 570 MW.
"When we have the feasibility studies it is very easy for us to sell them then we can be able to get the investors because people are asking about it," said Mathok.
"We have a lot of potential in South Sudan in terms of energy, electricity and this idea of East Africa power pool which is being created by the East African countries will make us to dominate this sector because in terms of hydro-power we are really very advanced," said Mathok.
"It is true that we have not developed our energy potential it is when we develop them that we will use the same power lines to export our power to them in the future," said Mathok.
In 2017 South Sudan and Ethiopia signed MoU in Addis Ababa on development of roads and electricity.
The minister said they are also following up on the Addis Ababa agreement which will see electricity transmitted from Ethiopia to the border areas Western Upper Nile, Jonglei, Akobo and Pagak.
Mathok disclosed that they are currently discussing with Sahara Power Group to develop the 530 MW power plant in the Tharjath oil field.
Sahara Group in November 2018 signed agreement with the ministry of energy and dams to support the generation, transmission and distribution of power.