Left out rural areas to get power

KIGALI - Early next year large parts of rural Rwanda will have access to electricity. According to John Mirenge, the Director General of Electrogaz, the national energy and water utility, the initiative will serve mainly to connect the urban centres across the country.
John Mirenge.
John Mirenge.

KIGALI - Early next year large parts of rural Rwanda will have access to electricity. According to John Mirenge, the Director General of Electrogaz, the national energy and water utility, the initiative will serve mainly to connect the urban centres across the country.

“From the beginning of 2009 we shall be able to connect power supply lines to all the main roads connecting major urban centres across the country,” Mirenge said adding that this was a medium term solution to Rwanda’s alarming energy costs and erratic connection.

He said that government has already earmarked 8 mini hydro electricity projects and construction works are already underway for some while many will start in January 2009.

He said that tenders for the construction of mini hydro projects in Ngororero, Gisagara, Nyaruguru, Bugesera, Byumba and two others in the Eastern Province have been finalised.

“Many of the projects will be functional by the end of next year,” he said.

Mirenge added that government’s ambitious rural electrification programme will also be boosted greatly.

“We are coordinating a project with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development Partners to have electricity footprints in all rural areas in the country beginning with the New Year.”

The national electricity extension programme especially in rural areas is being funded by the European Union and the government targets to have at least 16 percent of the rural population accessing electricity by 2012. He added that by the same time there will be 30 hydro projects in rural areas as a boost to rural electro-connectivity.

The government has adopted several alternatives to find solutions to energy, which has been labelled a major stumbling block to the economic transformation campaign that is currently underway in the country.

These include the investment in the Methane Gas Project in Lake Kivu whose pilot project now fetches 1.4 megawatts.

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