During the Leadership Retreat that ended yesterday, it was observed that Rwanda cannot achieve her vision for rapid development if the energy deficit is not effectively addressed.
The country’s target is to produce 1000 MW by 2017, and plans are underway to increase the current production by 25 percent in the next year.
Energy will play a critical role in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through a variety of direct and indirect processes.
Research shows that access to energy reduces hunger through food preservation and improves access to safe drinking water, by way of pumping systems that provide water and irrigation.
With regard to education, lighting will foster reading, and will power communication tools such as the laptops in schools. Businesses that require electricity will spring up and provide extra income to the families.
Rwanda recognizes the importance of alternative fuels and the introduction of electricity will not only promote environmental sustainability, but will also relieve women of fuel collecting chores, therefore, helping to promote gender equality.
The contribution that rural electrification will make to the lives of the Rwandan people cannot be underestimated. However, as the Government does its part, working to fund the extension of electricity to the population, the public who will benefit should also contribute to this initiative.
Through such partnerships, the reach of electricity will not only widen, but will also encourage the culture of ownership, which is key to the sustainable development of the country.