Rusumo Falls was identified as a potential area for hydro power generation as early as 1970s. Although the three partner states discussed over and again, a series of feasibility studies conducted by different firms and negotiations with development partners ensured at all stages, implementation of the highly needed project was not forthcoming due to a number of reasons. These included lack of commitment from the partner states, lack of investment finance, civil conflict as well as absence of a joint institution to coordinate the project.
Thanks to the Nile Basin Initiative, the project will soon be operational. One of the flagship infrastructure projects planned under NBI, once operational, the project will bring 80 megawatts of renewable, clean, relatively low-cost power to the national grids of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania with each receiving an additional 26.6 megawatts. The additional power will benefit an estimated 1,146,000 people in the three countries and an estimated increase in electricity access rates of; 5.4% (520,000) in Burundi, 4% (467,000) in Rwanda and 0.34% (159,000) in Tanzania.