Rwanda, UK Energy Deal to boost Off-Grid Power Supply in Rural Areas

Rwanda has signed a memorandum of understanding with UK government as part of efforts to boost off-grid power supply to rural households.

The agreement, which is part of the Energy Africa campaign, was signed by the Minister for Infrastructure, James Musoni, and Nick Hurd, the UK International Development minister during the Global African Investment Summit in London on Wednesday.

New Times reports that Rwanda becomes the six country to join the campaign that seeks to accelerate universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa by boosting the continent’s household solar market. Others are Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ghana and Malawi.

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the agreement will help power up the emerging household solar market in Rwanda and across Africa.

Rwanda plans to increase its installed power generation capacity to about 563MW by 2018 and to extend power supply to 70 percent of the population, up from over 22 percent presently. The country’s installed power generation capacity is presently at 161.2MW, but only 119.38MW is available.

Of this, 97.37MW is hydro power; thermal power contributes 51.7MW, methane 3.6MW, while 8.75MW is produced from solar energy. However, the government is promoting a green economy, which makes the UK support a timely intervention to help realise this objective that is part of the country’s development blueprint, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).

Commenting on the deal, Robert Nyamvumba, the Director of the energy division at the Ministry of Infrastructure, said the campaign will assist Rwanda in its efforts to achieve universal energy access by 2020.

Nyamvumba said, under partnership agreement, the UK government, through DFID, will mobilise funds required for the implementation of the Energy Africa campaign in Rwanda.

According to the agreement, both parties committed to championing Sustainable Development Goals objective seven on increasing access to clean and affordable energy.

They will work together in the implementation of the household solar component of Rwanda’s off-grid rural electrification strategy. Both sides also agreed on the policy actions that need to be developed and implemented to accelerate the household solar market.

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