Representatives from five African states, this week, began a five-day training workshop on enhancing skills for hydro power development especially on-site identification, environment and socio-economic assessments.
The capacity building workshop was organised by the Ministry of Infrastructure in partnership with UN Industrial Development Organisation –UNIDO.
Experts from Sri Lanka are facilitating the workshop, attended by engineers, policy makers from Rwanda, Tanzania, Chad, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Eng. Leonard Kassana, from the Ministry of Infrastructure, said that Rwanda wants to take the lead in hydro power development.
He added that the training was part of the global efforts for technical capacity building.
“We have set up an ambitious program of increasing to 1,000 megawatts from the current 97 megawatts, and 50 percent access to electricity especially in rural areas by 2017,’’ Kassana said.
At least four hydro power plants at Mutobo, producing 0.2 MW, Nyamyotsi1, 0.1, Nyamyotsi 2, 0.1 and Agatobwe 0.2, have been constructed by the government in partnership with UNIDO.
UNIDO’s Regional Director, Dr. David D Tommy, said that African technicians should take up the opportunity of ‘hanging fruits’ in terms of potentiality and create a sustainable source of energy.
“There is drive to ensure that our societies are uplifted to another level, we need rural electrification. Let us use what we have, you are part of change, Africa should shift to another level,” Dr. Tommy said.
It was reported that Rwanda has 167 sites suitable for hydroelectric power.
“When I came in Rwanda in 1982, I went back and described it as a banana city, but now it’s one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, we should strive to change our societies for a better future,” Dr. Tommy said.