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UK government to fund the Virunga park hydro-electric network and Congolese electoral process

The UK Government announced a funding of the hydro-electric network of the Virunga Park and the Congolese electoral process

It is through the UK Minister for Africa at the Department for International Development that the United Kingdom has announced an investment of up to $9 million, in the form of a loan, to the rural electrification programme of Virunga National Park, North Kivu.

The announcement was made at a signing ceremony at Matebe in Rutshuru – the site of a 13MW hydro-power facility constructed with grant funds from the Howard G Buffett Foundation – in the presence of North Kivu’s Vice-Governor, the Provincial Minister for Energy, the Director General of the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), representatives of civil society, private and public sector, and a representative of the British financial development institution (CDC), which is providing the loan with capital made available by the UK Department for International Development.

In his speech, Minister Nick Hurd stressed the impact that the achievement of objective 7 of the sustainable development goals – access to green energy – could have on the lives of the poorest and stressed the UK’s willingness to support it. To this effect he mentioned the “Energy for Africa” campaign, launched by the British Government on 22 October 2015. This campaign aims to speed up access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa and to achieve universal access by 2030.

On his visit the Minister also announced additional UK funding of £11.4m for the DRC’s electoral process. Announcing this support, the Minister expressed concerns about the political situation, including the delay in organising the elections within the constitutional deadline. He said during an interview: “We note that deadlines set out in the electoral calendar of February 2015 have been missed. We call on the government, the electoral commission, and all parties to the DRC electoral process to take the necessary steps without further delay to ensure that elections due under the DRC constitution, in particular the presidential and legislative elections, take place as soon as possible”. He also called for respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights to ensure a peaceful political climate.