Caption: Ambassador Miyashita talks with an EUCL official at Jabana Substation
By Sharon Kantengwa
The Government of Japan pledged its continued support toward energy sector of Rwanda. Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda Takayuki Miyashita noted that electricity is a key to the country’s development and stable distribution of electricity continues to strengthen Rwandan economy, considering that reliable energy supply is one of the pre-conditions for the improvement of the Rwandan business environment.
“Electricity is crucial for promoting the development of industry as well as people’s life. Especially, stable distribution of electricity is necessary for both improving business environment and well-being of the citizens living both in urban and rural areas. That’s why we are strongly supporting the energy sector and ensuring that they are functioning well,” Miyashita said.
Caption: Ambassador Miyashita visits control room in Musha Substation
On June 29, Ambassador Miyashita, together with EUCL officials, visited two substations in Kigali and Rwamagana constructed through the “Project for Improvement of Substations and Distribution Network,” a grant aid project from the Government of Japan, which amounts up to USD 25 million. More than 150,000 people were newly connected to electricity through the project.
This project was completed in 2014, after three years of implementation. It rehabilitated and reconstructed old substations, restored and expanded distribution network with the aim of contributing to the sustainable supply and improvement of electrical distribution in Kigali, its suburban areas, and some regional cities.
Economic infrastructure development is one of the priority areas of Japan’s development cooperation in Rwanda, and program for energy sector is one of the pillars included in that area. Especially, continuous support through both hard and soft components is said to be strength of Japan.
“The particular project of phase 1 consists of renovation of two substations in Kigali: Gikondo and Jabana, and construction two new substations in Eastern provience: Musha and Rwinkwavu, as well as replacement of old transmission lines in Huye. At present, we are implementing phase 2 of this energy project in three parts of Kigali; Ndera, Kabuga, and Mulindi respectively,” Miyashita explained.
Pascal Mutesa, Transmission Operation Director of EUCL, said that the old substations that were built more than 70 years ago were not sufficient for satisfying the growing demand, but now customers of EUCL are happier since new machinery introduced in the project can transform the high voltage of electricity more efficiently, leading to fewer blackout cases.
The Government of Japan, through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), continues to focus to energy sector phase 2 of the project which plans to be completed in March 2018 with almost the same amount of grant as phase 1. At the end of the tour, Miyashita visited Ndera in Kigali where a new substation directly benefiting the stable operation of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is under construction.
“We are very happy to see all those substations are functioning well and this new construction work is making strides forward,” said Miyashita. Japan is one of the active donors in energy sector and committed to long-term cooperation.