$48 million Renewable Energy Fund to connect 445,000 households launched

On 15 November 2017 at 03:14

The Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) yesterday launched a $48.9 million (Rwf41 billion) Renewable Energy Fund expected to support electrification of 445,000 households with solar power systems by 2023.

Financed by World Bank, the project will provide solar power systems in rural areas, most specifically in the districts of Nyaruguru, Gisagara, Nyamagabe, Gakenke and other parts of the country with small number of population that have no access to the national grid.

The fund will also support entrepreneurs who will wish to invest in projects that seek to improve access to energy in households.

The Chief Executive Officer of BRD, Alex Kanyankore noted that his institution will fund and partner with financial institutions like banks, Microfinance institutions and SACCOs to ensure proximity and easy access.

He said BRD will provide loans to these institutions at the interest rate of below 10% which will in turn provide loans to citizens to be able to buy solar systems.

“Umurenge SACCO will be given ample opportunity as it is the institution close to beneficiaries. This is a good move from banks and private sector in contributing to access to electricity in the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, $44 million of the fund will go into electricity related activities while $4 million will go to support financial institutions.

The project is expected to add 19% to the current access to electricity status in the country.

The energy division manager at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Robert Nyamvumba said current access to electricity is at 40.8% and with new connections, the project will spur development among population.

“This project will enable the government achieve its target of having all households connected to electricity by 2024” he said.

The World Bank indicated that though 445,000 households will directly benefit from the fund, it could yield an indirect impact on more than a million people.

Moise Dusingizimana who was representing Nyamagabe District-based Kira Buruhukiro SACCO emphasized that the project will benefit people that would otherwise not afford electricity by providing with them loans to pay for accessories and connections.

BRD CEO Alex Kanyankore