The government has reached an agreement with ORASCOM Construction Industries which will see the Egyptian firm construct a plant on Lake Kivu that will produce 50 megawatts from methane gas.
The Ministry of Infrastructure together with Rwanda Development Board (RDB), yesterday signed an agreement with a representative of ORASCOM with the latter expected to begin a feasibility study on the project soon.
The Minister of State for Energy, Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, and the Chief Operating Officer of RDB, Clare Akamanzi, signed on behalf of the government while Mohamed Safeyeldin, the Director of Africa Operations, represented ORASCOM.
Ruhamya welcomed the Egyptian investors stating that the investment project is a timely boost to the government’s seven year strategic plan to increase electricity generation to 1,000Mw with 300Mw generated from Methane gas.
“The Government of Rwanda has placed an urgent and strategic importance on the generation and provision of electricity to all Rwandans for national development,” said Ruhamya.
“Through its economic, privatisation and energy development policy, it encourages and supports private initiatives and investment in the construction and development of electricity generating plants,” Ruhamya said.
She pledged the government’s support to ORASCOM to help them invest in the energy sector, noting that the government targets moving towards cleaner and renewable energy.
“Currently we are burning fuel to get electricity. Almost 50 percent of our energy depends on generators and that makes electricity very expensive,” Ruhamya said.
“When I say there is an urgent need for energy, I mean we want cleaner and renewable energy which is much cheaper and will ensure that many people access electricity. Our target is to have at least 50 percent of the people having access to electricity by 2017,” she added.
On behalf of ORASCOM, Safeyeldin said that the firm was committed to invest in the project and would increase on the amount of power generated once the first phase of 50 megawatts is complete.
The government will allow the Egyptian firm to add an additional 50Mw once it succeeds in producing the first 50Mw of power.
The ORASCOM Director did not reveal the amount the company would invest, but stated that this would depend on the feasibility study. He however pointed out that the total amount would not be less than US$100m.
Safeyeldin said that ORASCOM was drawn to Rwanda by the country’s ambitious development plans and the potential it holds, noting that the company intends to start work immediately.
“We hope we will follow our schedule as we have planned it. We hope the feasibility study will take 10 months from now and by then,” he said.
The project will run alongside those being carried out by Contour Global and the government to extract the abundant deposits of the gas in Lake Kivu. The ORASCOM official said the project is a unique one which does not exist anywhere else.
On RDB’s part, which has been negotiating the project, the investment will add even more value to the country as a leading destination for investment and one of the most competitive countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Rwanda was this year named the 3rd most competitive country in Sub Saharan Africa after Mauritius and South Africa. I believe that ORASCOM’s investment in the energy sector will further boost Rwanda’s competitiveness,” Akamanzi said.
The signing ceremony was attended by the Egyptian Ambassador to Rwanda, Khaled Abdelrahman.
ORASCOM is a leading construction firms active in emerging markets based in Cairo, Egypt. It undertakes large industrial, commercial and infrastructure projects for public and private customers principally in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.