Rwanda makes its energy pitch to G8

The Minister of State in Charge of Energy and Water, Dr Albert Butare, recently assured G8 Energy Ministers and representatives of several governments that Rwanda is working hard towards massive increase of access to energy for its population.
Energy Minister Dr Albert Butare making his presentation in Rome during the Summit (Coursey Photo)
Energy Minister Dr Albert Butare making his presentation in Rome during the Summit (Coursey Photo)

The Minister of State in Charge of Energy and Water, Dr Albert Butare, recently assured G8 Energy Ministers and representatives of several governments that Rwanda is working hard towards massive increase of access to energy for its population.

Through its Ministry of Economic Development, the Italian government that currently holds the presidency of the G8 countries, invited Rwanda to participate in the world powerful countries’ Energy Meeting that took place in Rome, Italy from May 24 to 25.

While only 6 percent of Rwandans having access to electricity and other modern forms of energy, Minister Butare told participants of the Rome Summit that the country aims at reaching 16 per cent access by 2012, while the general objective is to reach at least 35 per cent by 2020.

“This is our development path in this sector, which we are determined to undertake with or without support,” he is quoted as having told the gathering on Monday.

He explained the government’s efforts to face the shortage of energy, ranging from exploring geothermal, wind and hydrological potential to promotion of solar systems, biomass use and the unique methane gas resources in Lake Kivu that itself has the potential to produce an equivalent of 700 MW of electricity for 55 years.

He however made it clear that the success of all these projects requires significant amount of resources, calling upon external investors to come forth.

“If we pursue this undertaking single handedly as Rwanda without any external support, yes, we shall achieve this, but it is going to take extremely long!”

Upon his arrival from Rome, Butare told The New Times that his presentation at the conference raised positive reactions from G8 members, who recognised thereafter that African countries also have an agenda to overcome the energy crisis and committed to take responsible actions for increased financing of energy access.

He said that his intention was to provoke the ministers to advocate for Africa at the forthcoming G8 Heads of State Summit that is scheduled early July in Italy.

The two-day meeting was held under the theme “Beyond the crisis: Towards a New World Energy Leadership.”

Rwanda attended the meeting for the first time along with two other sub-Saharan African countries; Nigeria and South Africa, and 21 other countries that are not part of the G8, all described as “outreach countries.”

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