KIGALI - Rwanda and the Saudi Fund for Development yesterday signed two loan agreements worth $17 million for the rehabilitation of Butare-Kitabi-Ntendezi Road and increase electricity access in three areas in the country.
According to the agreement, the road rehabilitation project amounts to about $5million and comes to reinforce the rehabilitation of Butare-Ntendezi project whose works are expected to begin soon.
The Butare-Ntendezi road network links Kigali to the western and southern parts of the country, and serves as the main access to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), notably Bukavu region.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, highlighted the importance of rehabilitating the road and said that it also connects a major agricultural area and to Nyungwe Game Park which is one the tourist attractions in the country.
“We will pay back this concessional loan in a period of 30 years with an interest rate of 1percent,” said Rwangombwa.
Meanwhile the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Saudi Fund for Development, Eng. Yousef Ibn Ibrahim Al-Bassam, hailed the cooperation between Rwanda and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, saying that relations between the two countries dates back to the early 80s and that Saudi Development Programmes in Rwanda are worth over US$78m.
Regarding the electricity project, it was financed to the tune of $11.7 million.
“This will greatly enhance Rwanda Energy Roll-out Programme and will contribute to efforts to connect at least 16 percent of the population (or 350,000 clients) to the national grid by 2012 from the current 6percent,” said Rwangombwa, adding that this will stimulate economic growth.
The Minister of Infrastructure, Vincent Karega, attended the ceremony and made a brief presentation on the energy sector in the country.
“We have a full programme of electricity roll-out all over the country. This means, connecting the whole country to transmission lines and in the end connecting our subscribers to the transmission lines,” he said
He added that; “So far we have covered 65% of the country meaning that most of our population within 65percent of the territory are not 5km away from the grid.”
“The overall rollout programme is estimated to cost $290m and 95 percent has been committed and this is five-year plan,” said Minister Karega.