Uganda news update – Aga Khan on working visit in Uganda


His Highness the Aga Khan is in Uganda for a two day working visit, which will include an inspection of the Bujagali hydroelectric power station, which is being lead developed by Industrial Promotion Services from Kenya, itself part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. IPS stepped into the void left by previous ‘promoters’ of the Bujagali power station, and true to its overall form in East African development projects, put financing in place, reached broad consensus with affected stakeholders including the rafting and adventure tourism fraternity and then commenced construction. AKFED, through IPS Kenya, brought Sithe Global on board for technical expertise and the first 50 MW of relatively cheap hydropower will come on line by latest November this year but by mid 2012 the full 250 MW capacity will be feeding the national grid, bringing long lingering power shortages to an end.

Only days ago did BEL, or Bujagali Energy Limited as the company is known in Uganda, commission a shrine at the main Bujagali Falls – the power station is several kilometres downstream – where according to Busoga Kingdom lore the spirits present at the Bujagali Falls will now find a resting place.

The falls are likely to submerge when the water reservoir behind the new dam has finally filled up, prompting calls by the ‘Custodian’ of the culturally important site to ‘make arrangements for the spirits’, a demand now fully met and accepted by the Busoga community.

AKFED, across Eastern Africa, and hand in hand with the Aga Khan Education Service, is a leading source of development projects and has holdings in a range of leading companies such as the Nation Media Group, Jubilee Insurance, Diamond Trust Bank but for the purpose of this column more importantly Serena Hotels and Air Uganda.

Watch this space.