KIGALI - The Ministry of Infrastructure, through Rwanda Electricity Corporation (RECO), has signed a two-year rural electrification contract with the STEG International services, a Tunisian company.
The US $68.6 million project will help connect 50,000 more households on the national electric grid over the next two years in the districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza, Ngoma, Kirehe and Rwamagana, in eastern Rwanda.
This is an addition to 4,231 households that were recently connected by the same company.
The power project is a result of a partnership between STEG and the national power and water utility, RECO-RWASCO.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Director General of RECO-RWASCO, Yves Muyange, said the project is in line with government’s effort to connect at least 50 percent of the population by 2017.
“The electrification project of the Eastern Province will increase electricity connection from the current estimated 6 percent to around 40 percent by the end of 2012,” he said.
“With this effort, the rollout programme by the government and its development partners will be attained”.
Muyange added that while STEG personnel will be training Rwandans on the cost effective connection technology, they too will be acquiring skills on Rwanda’s pre-paid electricity system.
“The Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Tunisia have quickly established South-south cooperation; it is the first of its kind and enhanced the value of our partnership between STEG and RECO which we’re confident will become a model,” said Othman Ben Arfa, the president and Director General of STEG.
He added that his company will work to transfer RECO to low cost rural electrification technology using single phase system of wiring.
In the framework of the Electricity-Access-Rollout-Programme, government also targets 350,000 connections nationwide by the year 2012.
As of June this year, the number of households on the pre-paid payment system stood at 110,000 clients.
Coletha Ruhamya, the State Minister for Energy and Water, said Tunisia has the best experience in terms of electrification as 99 percent of its people are connected.
“Tunisia, through STEG, has managed to achieve 99.9 percent access to electricity country-wide from 6 percent, so we want to use their own experience and implement it in our country,” said Ruhamya.