A new 82km power line has been commissioned in Rutare sector, Gicumbi District in the Northern Province, with a call on residents to take full advantage of the electricity and start income generating activities to fight household poverty.
State Minister for Energy and Water, Germaine Kamayirese, launched the medium voltage distribution line, which serves Nyamiyaga, Muko and Mutete localities, on Wednesday.
The launch was part of the activities to mark World Energy Day, which is commemorated annually on October 22.
Kamayirese urged residents to tap into the opportunities the power line presents and increase their household incomes.
“Electricity drives industries and other activities that stimulate the country’s growth. So take advantage of the new power line to start income-generating activities that will help fight poverty, create jobs and contribute to the national development agenda,” Kamayirese noted.
Currently, only 22 per cent of Rwandans access the national power grid, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Rwanda is looking to increase power generation capacity to ensure that citizens access reliable and affordable energy to undertake economic activities and help the country realise the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) objectives.
Kamayirese said the government targets to have 70 per cent of households connected to the power grid by 2018.
Rwanda’s current installed capacity is 119MW, with more 61.5MW expected to come on line by 2015 when projects, such as Nyabarongo I (28MW), Kivuwatt 25MW, Gishoma Peat Plant (15MW) and Giggawatt Solar power plant 8.5MW, are commissioned. The country targets to increase its generation capacity to 563MW by the 2017.
While speaking at the event, Aime Bosenibamwe, the Northern Province governor, urged the youth to take advantage of the power line to set up income-generating projects in Rutare instead of migrating to Kigali and other big towns searching for non-existent jobs.
Vincent Niyibizi, a salon owner in Rutare town, said the power line could help reduce operational costs.
“I have been spending a lot of money on fuel to run the generator I was using to operate salon. Now that we have been connected to the power grid, I hope to save some of the money I used to spend on fuel.”