Rwanda gets US$84m financing from AfDB to boost electricity access

RWANDA – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has approved  US$84.22 million in loans and grants to electrify nearly 80,000 rural households in south Rwanda.

The electricity project will advance the country’s goal of universal electrification and benefit small businesses and youth.  

The funds comprise a loan of US$36.77 million from the Bank Group’s African Development Fund and a US$47.45 million ADF grant.

The project financing was approved on 26 May 2021.

The Transmission System Reinforcement and Last Mile Connectivity project will provide first-time electricity connection to 77,470 households to the grid, entailing the construction of 595 kilometre  of medium voltage distribution lines and 1,620 km of low voltage distribution networks in six southern Rwanda districts.

The project will also see the upgrade, rehabilitation, and extension of 1,720 kilometre of low voltage network, and distribution of transformers in secondary cities with high load.

The project is expected to improve power supply reliability and stability across the country, expand electricity access and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by enabling access to clean energy.

“Cumulative connectivity rate is 63% of Rwandan households including 47% connected to the national grid and 16% accessing through off-grid systems (mainly solar)’’

Rwanda Energy Group

Additionally, the project is also expected to bolster education by extending students access to light for study and benefit small and medium enterprises while enhancing job creation for youth and is part of the Rwanda Universal Energy Access Program (RUEAP), which seeks among other goals, to achieve universal access to electricity by 2024.

It is also aligned with the country’s long-term development framework, Vision 2050.

The project also draws from two of the Bank’s High-5 strategic priorities:  Light Up and Power Africa and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

According to Rwanda Energy Group, as of May 2021, the cumulative connectivity rate is 63% of Rwandan households including 47% connected to the national grid and 16% accessing through off-grid systems (mainly solar).

The Government of Rwanda envisions transitioning from a developing country to a middle-income country and to achieve this goal, the government is targeting 100% electricity access by 2024.

Rwanda is endowed with natural energy resources including hydro, solar, and methane gas but currently only has 218 MW of installed generation capacity.

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