In less than five months since some parts of Gatsibo district have been connected to electricity in line with Rwanda’s universal access target, the beneficiaries have started taking advantage of this electricity to develop themselves as well as striving for their self-reliance.
As a result, various entrepreneurial projects, ranging from milling plants, saloons, and welding to trading in stationary are all thriving.
Patrick Mazimpaka is a trader at a selling point in Rugarama sector. He explained how electricity had impacted the growth of his business.
Previously, Mazimpanka’s work was limited to 6:00 pm or late 7:00 p.m. He would use candles or lamp.Fortunatly, electricity has increased working hours up to 24. He has also witnessed security at his work.
“It is now five months since we got the electricity. The development has been helping us in our businesses. At work, I would use candles during evening hours. Our clients were not comfortable with the situation; fortunately, electricity has significantly improved our conditions,” he said.
About the earnings, the trader said that it was doubled following the increase of working hours, adding that the issue of theft that was rampant was solved.
A new Gatsibo Agro- processing plant was also born as a result of electricity in Rugarama sector.
According to Karake Kagabo, the manager of plant, the facility came as a solution to maize farmer in the district.
“Apartments of the facility were previously used as stores for maize. Later, it was turned into a plant after we were connected to the grid. . It has the capacity to produce 12 tonnes of maize flour per day,” Kagabo said.
He said that the plant came to support farmers to get a market for their crops unlike previously when the market was a big problem for them.
For Martin Maniraguha who owns barber shop in Rukiniro center, access to electricity has improved working conditions.
He said that the number of clients has increased as well as the earnings.
“Our work was not productive. We used to record many expenses but now we are saving. It is now two months since I have started benefiting from the power. I am planning to attract more other shavers to come and join me. The earning helps to cater my family needs as well as saving for the future,” he added.
Elyse Hakizimana, who has started a welding workshop, noted that metallic materials are no longer a challenge to residents in his community.
“People used to get metallic materials from far with a high cost. Power distribution solved many challenges and now we are enjoying the changes. My dreams are to expand the project. I also plan to renovate my house since I started working with Saving and Credit Cooperative (SACCO),” he added.
Eng. Emmanuel Tulinduga, the manager of REG branch in Gatsibo district, said that electricity has improved the living conditions of residents in the district.
Last year, a total of 3000 households were connected against the target of 2000 households. So far, the whole District has a total of 15,000 households accessing to electricity through both on-grid and off-grid solutions. In the journey to have all households connected to electricity in Rwanda by 2024, access to electricity in Rwanda stands at 48.6% while in Gatsibo district it stands at 32 per cent
He noted the rate is likely to increase as REG plans to connect more 6,000 households this year in the District of Gatsibo.
“Access to electricity has accelerated the development in rural areas. Jobs were created, new business were initiated while the livelihood of the citizens also improved. This is so appreciable,” he added.Follow https://twitter.com/ByumvuhoreF