National, News

Fula Dam Project faces Financial hurdles

By Bida Elly David


South Sudan government’s initiative to power the entire country through Fula hydro-electricity dam project is taking longer due to financial challenges.

Minister of Investment, Dr. Dhieu Mathok Diing disclosed this while speaking at Central Equatoria Business Union’s Juba Economic Forum on Wednesday.

The minister acknowledged the project’s high cost and limited financial resources.

“The $2 billion cost of Fula dam project is a major concern for potential investors, making it difficult to recoup their investments due to the high production costs,” the Minister stated.

He added that the government’s attempts to attract foreign investors have been unsuccessful due to their demands for upfront payments.

“The government has initially rejected paying the 15-20% advance payment due to the fact that there is no sufficient budget for the project,” Mathok revealed,

He stressed that it is difficult for the Fula project to be finished to connect electricity to the whole country, although the government is exerting efforts.

“The Fula dam project was one of the government’s priorities but was really very expensive, and this could be the reason why South Sudan does not have electricity; we don’t produce; we don’t have manufacturers,” he confessed.

Alternative energy expansion plans

Despite the challenges with the Fula Dam project, the government is exploring alternative solutions to address the nationwide power shortage.

Jimmy Jake, a senior project engineer at the Ministry of Energy and Dams, outlined a 2024-2030 master plan for energy expansion.

This plan according to him prioritizes connecting state capitals and secondary towns lacking electricity through interconnections with neighboring countries:

He said the six years energy master plan will begin with state capitals and secondary towns that do not have electricity supplies.

“The energy plan will be through the interconnection of Sudan to South Sudan from Renk to Malakal, the interconnection between Ethiopia and South Sudan from Gambela, as well as Uganda to South Sudan,” he highlighted.

Additionally, Jake noted the plan aims to utilize indigenous energy resources like residual fuels from proposed refineries and mini-hydro power potentials.

Each of the ten states is expected to benefit from specific power generation capacities under this plan, ranging from 10 to 20 megawatts.

Challenges and long-term vision

Engineer Jake further acknowledged financial constraints as a potential hurdle for implementing the master plan.

He emphasized that the Fula Dam project remains part of a long-term vision beyond 2030, alongside other large-scale hydropower projects like Shukoli, Lakki, and Bedden dams.

For his part Alison Samuel, the Director of Revenues at the Juba City Council (JCC), criticized the slow implementation of developed plans.

He emphasized the critical role of electricity in driving economic development and improving essential services like garbage collection and recycling.

“South Sudan’s economic challenges are deeply linked to the lack of nationwide electricity,” he stated.

“With sufficient power, we could implement digital revenue collection systems, improve sanitation efforts through night work, and unlock other economic opportunities” Samuel added.

The economic forum highlighted the complexities surrounding South Sudan’s energy situation.

While Fula Dam remains an ambitious long-term goal, the new master plan offers a potential path toward addressing immediate electricity needs and paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Comments are closed.