Rollout of Reliable and Affordable Electricity for Rwanda

Approximately 70 per cent of households, industries and small to medium-sized businesses could access more affordable and reliable electricity by 2018.

A $40 million injection loan from a new financing agreement between the Government and African Development Bank was signed in early February in Kagali. This will fund the construction of 119 kilometres of transmission line from Rusumo Power Plant, to Birembo Substation in Kinyinya, Gasabo District, through the proposed Bugesera International Airport substation.

The initiative is part of a plan to support Rwanda's electricity access programme which stands at a mere 17 per cent of households having access. They hope to boost this to 70 per cent by 2018. "Increased electricity access will create employment opportunities, increase off farm jobs, contribute to industrial development and reduce production costs through decrease electricity tariffs," Amb. Claver Gatete, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning stated.

The idea is that the loan is repaid over the next forty years, with an interest rate of 1 per cent for the first ten years, and 3 per cent in subsequent years. Gatete added: The loan comes at a time when the government is scaling up efforts to address the challenge of electricity. We are very much aware that we can't have economic and rural transformation without electricity."

Negatu Makonnen, a representative from the African Development Bank, said that the bank's support will directly contribute to Rwanda's objective of sustained rapid economic growth, facilitating the process of economic transformation as stated in the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) programme. "This support will help increase the country's renewable [hydro] electricity supply, addressing the power deficit and allowing for expansion of energy access rates. It will also provide the opportunity to replace high cost thermal plants from the power systems, thereby lowering the cost of power generation."