Rural electrification experts from several countries in the region are meeting in Kigali to discuss ways of reducing costs for rural electrification in order to enable these areas access electricity.
The five-day forum which was organised by the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), CLUB-ER and other stakeholders, brought together experts from Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
CLUB- ER is a network of 30 members whose aim is to create enabling conditions of sharing experiences between members in various countries to spread good practices in extending electricity in rural areas.
Speaking at the meeting, Yussuf Uwamahoro, the Coordinator of the Energy Sector in MININFRA said that energy is an essential element in economic development.
“Without electricity, we cannot develop industries like agro-processing plants in our rural areas,” he said.
Uwamahoro stressed that the government seeks to increase the generation of electricity capacity by developing Micro- Hydro plants and solar energy systems.
“It is a good opportunity for us to exchange experiences in terms of extending electricity to rural areas, but in Rwanda, we are ahead in terms of planning for rural electrification,” he said.
“The energy sector in general and the electricity in particular, will contribute to durable economic growth, social development and poverty alleviation”
Erik Van Malderen, from the Belgian Technical Cooperation, said that there was urgent need to expand access to electricity in rural areas.
“Various approaches will be discussed to draw replicable practices for increasing the access of electricity by the local population,” he revealed.