FEATURED: Access to electricity is boosting commerce in Rubavu District

Bordering with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rubavu District has been developed in infrastructure to boost cross border trade between citizens of both regions. Roads, markets among other facilities have been constructed around the city of Gisenyi.

Since last year, the business people among other residents have been experiencing the benefits of new connections of electricity made in various places across the district.

A total of 6725 households with the majority of business centers were connected last year against the target set to connect 5250 households.

The development resulted in the establishment of 150 milling machines since various businesses carried out across the two borders focus on food commodities.

Other more entrepreneurial projects such as barber shops, welding came into existence accelerating job opportunities in the district.

The district has become the center of cross-border trade among Rwandans and Congolese. It is also the Rwanda’s resort town with the key to unlocking domestic tourism because of the Lake Kivu. Each m0nth, the district hosts multitude of guests.

Claver Karasira, a resident of Gisenyi sector, established a milling business with 14 machines in the city of Gisenyi. His business has created job opportunities for over 20 permanent workers who are youth.

The businessman said that electricity connectivity in more centers is impacting their lives in terms of incomes and job creation.

“My business has been contributing much in the development of my family and community. I am not benefiting alone but also my employees are. Unemployment creates illegal activities or drug abuse especially among youth. It is appreciable that since the electricity has been increased with more business centers connected, there have been changes,” Karasira said.

The development has pushed women also to stand up and start their own businesses since they occupy the big percentage in food commodities trade.

Alice Uwimana, a worker at Mukamira Milk Zone Diary in Gisenyi, also noted that electricity had improved their services.

“The benefits of electricity to our daily business are notable. Previously, our clients would be worried about the standards of our milk. Since, we got electricity, we have increased working hours too,” she added.

For Deborah Furaha who runs a business of selling grain flour, increased access to electricity has helped her business to run easily and profitably.

“Since the electricity has been distributed in many places, we have our products ground on time. We used to align because we were many while milling machines were few. The operations have changed and now we can get more profits,”she said.

Steven Igooma, the Manager of REG branch in Rubavu District, said that all sectors offices of the district are now connected to the electricity.

In the journey to have all household connected in Rwanda by 2024, access to electricity in Rubavu district stands at 48 per cent.

During 2018/2019 fiscal year, REG has the target t0 connect 10816 households in Rubavu.

Igooma noted that it is likely that the number of households to be connected this year will increase following an ongoing project funded by World Bank. The project which focuses on four sectors of Nyamyumba, Nyundo, Rugerero and Nyakiriba will benefit a total of 7,830 households.

“Electricity c0nnectivity has accelerated the development across the district. Jobs were created; new businesses were initiated while the livelihood of the citizens also improved,” he added.