Rwanda Making Progress Towards Achieving Universal Electricity Access

By  |  June 20, 2019

Living in a world where there is insufficient source of light after the sun sets can be pretty devastating especially for those with poor eyesight or the aging who tend to straining to see.

In some parts of Africa, people still retire to bed early because they depend on kerosene for lighting and for it to serve longer, it needs to be used sparingly.

Rwanda, the self-proclaimed economic lion has an ambitious plan with an aim of achieving universal electricity coverage by 2024. The country which currently has a national electrification rate of 30 percent, has been making moves to ensure they achieve the said targets.

A Dutch firm, has announced it will invest USD 70 Mn in the production of solar lighting products in Rwanda.

The firm, known as NOTS will see at least 900,000 households, or 4.2 million people connected to electricity in the next five years.

The New Times reveal the Rwandan government earlier signed an agreement with the firm to manufacture and distribute solar home systems. Under the agreement, NOTS will establish a factory in Rwanda for manufacturing solar home systems. The Government will then be required to purchase from the firm solar systems for some 100,000 households in the next three years.

“There is an arrangement to supply solar systems and we progressively pay them later. This model will help Rwandans get them timely and speed up access to energy compared to covering the cost immediately,” Claver Gatete, the Minister for Infrastructure told The New Times.

Solange Mutezintare, NOTS Chief Operating Officer in Rwanda, said that they will offer the home solar systems for USD 58 payable in 100 weekly installments. She said that the price is affordable for most homes including those households in the first and second Ubudehe categories.

“There are over 20 companies engaged in off-grid energy business, especially solar energy. And, they have been importing the products into the country. So, the aim of the firm is to set up a factory that will be making such products that those who were importing them buy them from Rwanda,” Gatete disclosed.

The company expects to make at least 900,000 units of home solar systems for the local market in the next four years. Mutezintare revealed adding that extra one million units meant for the export market will be produced every year starting in 2022.

The Minister of Infrastructure said that once the company is done making solar systems for homes, the company will then develop solar products to be used in remote schools and health centres that lack access to electricity.

The Paul-Kagame led government is also looking to support the firm to tap into the export market as it bids to promote its Made-in-Rwanda programme to help bridge the trade deficit. The Made in Rwanda Policy is aligned with Rwanda’s aspiration to become upper middle income country by 2020. The country is planning to expand the economic base in a private sector-led Economy as it aims to further grow the economy.

Featured Image Courtesy: VSO

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