The Government and the Kingdom of Belgium on Friday night signed a €22m (about Rwf20bn) grant agreement to fund the energy sector.
Under the agreement, €17m (Rwf15.5bn) will be used for the access to energy programme.
“The funds will improve access to sufficient, reliable and affordable on-grid electricity services for households and priority public institutions in rural Rwanda,” said Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, after the signing ceremony.
He noted that 21,000 households in Gatsibo, Kayonza and Kirehe districts in the Eastern Province will benefit from the fund.
“The project will be implemented under the existing Electricity Access Rollout Programme (EARP) which operates under the Energy Water and Sanitation Authority,” the minister said.
He added that the remaining €5m (Rwf5bn) would be channeled towards capacity building within EWSA so that the authority’s staff would be competent enough to install the electricity infrastructure and maintain them efficiently.
“Capacity building is integral to the process as it will take multiple forms like coaching and mentoring, industrial attachment and medium and short-term technical assistance,” he explained.
Access to electricity
“Access to energy is one of the government’s priorities as it is one of the main drivers of the economic development. That’s why I commend the efforts by the Kingdom of Belgium to ensure that we achieve this,” Gatete said.
The Belgian minister for Public Enterprises and Development Cooperation, Jean Pascal Labille, noted that provision of cheap, reliable, and renewable energy will attract investment in the private sector, reduce operational costs of businesses and create jobs.
“I am satisfied with the implementation of the ongoing co-operation programme between Rwanda and Belgium. I’m happy that nearly all interventions in Belgian priority sectors of health, energy and decentralisation are now in a more or less advanced preparatory phase,” Labille said.
In 2011, the Kingdom of Belgium and Rwanda signed a four-year co-operation agreement (2011-2014) for a total amount of €160m for three priority sectors namely; health, energy and decentralisation.
The trip was also in line with preparations for the upcoming regional visit that Labille will jointly conduct with European Union development commissioner Andris Piebalgs next month. The upcoming visit is meant to draw attention to the Great Lakes region.
Among other top government officials, Labille held talks with Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation.