The World Bank will continue to work with the Government of Rwanda to support its quest to connect the whole nation to electricity.
The pledge was made yesterday by the World Bank Country Manager, Said Yasser El-Gammal, at a ceremony to sign a $125m (approximately Rwf112bn) credit agreement that will cater for the expansion of electricity access in the country.
El-Gammal pointed out that looking back at the numbers a decade ago, the achievements made in Rwanda’s energy sector are undeniable, adding that it was ‘something that the country should be very proud of’.
“It is a very good time for everyone to pause and look at Rwanda’s achievements in the energy sector. Globally speaking, Rwanda is one of the countries that has achieved the fastest growth in access amongst the least electrified countries in the world,” he said.
El-Gammal said that the energy sector had many challenges that go beyond wanting to provide access and that his institution and other partners would continue to work with the Government to make the plan a little smoother.
Government “needs to make sure that there is efficiency and they have to make sure that both the access and efficiency don’t come with a big fiscal burden to the Government. It is not easy but our collaboration has allowed a lot of progress to happen on that front and we look forward to continue to engage,” he said.
El-Gammal said that his institution was supporting a number of projects that continue to boost energy production which also, in turn, helps to subsidise the prices.
One of the projects that will contribute to this is the Rusumo falls hydropower project under joint development by the governments of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania and is expected to produce 80 megawatts. There is also another project called Rusizi II bringing together Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Minister for Finance and Economic, Planning Uzziel Ndagijimana, said that the agreement has greatly contributed to improving the energy sector, especially in regards to access as stipulated in the National Strategy for Transformation.
“The support through Development Series Operation has significantly contributed to the implementation of the energy sector development strategy in Rwanda with the aim of having 100 per cent access by 2024,” he said.
The World Bank Country Manager told journalists at the ceremony that the money was already being put to good use and that previous development policy operation series already delivered results.
“So far, new connections completed per year have doubled while total access has increased from 41 per cent in late 2017 to over 52 per cent today,” he said.
It is expected that by the end of the year 2020, Rwanda will have provided electricity to 61 per cent of the households.
According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, 51 per cent of households have access to electricity. Up to 37 per cent of these are connected to the national grid and 14 per cent through off-grid systems.
The plan is that 52 per cent of the national population will be connected through grid extension while 48 per cent will be connected through off-grid by 2022. Currently, off-grid connection stands at 14 per cent.