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Rwanda step up to increase accessibility of electricity to rural populations

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By Our reporter

newsdesk@greatlakesvoice.com

Kigali-Thursday, 27 October 2011, In a joint effort, the Minister of Infrastructure, Albert NSENGIYUMVA, together with Belgium envoy in Rwanda, Marc PECSTEEN officially inaugurates the Micro-Hydropower plants (MHPPs) of Keya, in Rubavu District and Cyimbili and Nkora in Rutsiro District.

The three MHPPs produce 3.2 MW which are fed into the national grid to increase the power output by 5 percent.

The connections of the three MHPPs to the national network stretch over to more than 60km and communities, public and social infrastructure along the lines are connected through low voltage lines.

“Ever since we got connected to electricity, our area has changed. We no longer sleep early, our children do their home-works easily in evenings and we listen to radio to know what’s happening around the world without worrying about batteries… We have already a hair salon, welding workshop and a video showroom for young people”, confided Ntakirutimana Vincent, 50, who is among the pilot subscribers in Nkora Cell; Rutsiro District.

The current indicative cooperation programme between Belgium and Rwanda worth 160

Million Euros (2011 – 2014) has committed 55 Million Euros to support electricity access

roll-out programme, especially in rural areas. Additional support will be allocated to the

development of geothermal energy and to the institutional strengthening for Electricity Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) and the Ministry of Infrastructure.

 

“The Government of Rwanda has set out clear targets, i.e 1000 MW production and 50

per cent of connections by 2017, as regards to electrical power production and distribution

since we consider electricity as an engine to spur social and economic development of our

country.

 

These three micro hydropower plants are yet another important step in the right

direction to increasing access to electricity to the population”, said Emma

ISUMBINGABO, Minister of State, in charge of Energy and Water.

 

About 300 households were connected upon completion of transmission lines and more than 100,000 inhabitants will benefit directly or indirectly from the new extension lines in the two districts. Several health facilities, schools and local administration offices are being connected to electrical lines.

Power is slowly improving lives in accessing basic services like (TV, radio, etc), health centres will be able to keep vaccines in recommended conditions, and to carry out basic obstetrical and surgery operations.

Also, as a result of access to electricity, there will be creation of new income generating activities and other opportunities, improved public service delivery.

The three MHPPs have been constructed through the project co-funded by the Government of Rwanda and the Government of Belgium at the cost of more than Rwf 9 billion (€11,127,350).

“I wish to reaffirm Belgium’s commitment to support energy development in Rwanda. The micro power plants we are inaugurating today are essential in reaching the ambitious targets set by the Government of Rwanda to increase production and distribution of electricity for both rural and urban population,” said Marc Pecsteen, Belgium envoy in Rwanda.

Energy is a priority in our common development strategy, since it is contributing to social and economic transformation for the wellbeing of the population added Pecsteen.

 

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