New Vision (Kampala)
By Yunusu Abbey
May 20, 2003

Aga Khan Eyes Bujagali Deal


THE Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismailia Muslim sect, wants to invest in Uganda's energy sector, particularly the Bujagali hydro electric power project.

High level sources said the Aga Khan, who has often visited Uganda and met President Yoweri Museveni, says he is ready to inject $20m as equity in the delayed project. He was last here in February.

A leading American company, AES Corporation, whose local subsidiary, AES Nile Power, is supposed to undertake the 250-megawatt Bujagali project, is yet to reach the financial closure with the World Bank. Initially estimated at $520m, the Government now wants the Bujagali cost drastically reduced.

Energy state minister Daudi Migereko would neither confirm nor deny the Aga Khan link on Sunday. "The Aga Khan has expressed interest in the energy sector. He is among those the Government has been talking to about Bujagali," Migereko said.

"But the Aga Khan issue is still under discussion because the Government says it is also ready to mobilise its own resources to fill up any gaps and ensure the project cost comes down," a source said.

"The Government gave AES an ultimatum (last week) to expedite the project's financial closure or lose the deal," the source said.

"But the ultimatum, which the energy ministry PS, Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa signed,was overtaken by events when the AES board gave its management permission to mobilise the $60m as counter-funding for the project," said a source.

Copyright 2003 New Vision.