The New Times (Kigali)

4 July 2012

Rwanda: Rural Electrification Policy Paying Off

editorial

Yesterday we reported that residents of Huye and Nyanza are reaping benefits of being connected to the national electricity grid.

Businesses in the two districts, such as barbershops, flour mills, furniture and metal workshops, pubs, music shops and video shacks have started to blossom. More people have seamless access to mobile phone services.

This is an indication that the government programme dubbed, Rural Electrification, which seeks to roll out electricity to rural areas is paying off. And it is a strong tool that will help alleviate poverty in rural areas because people are no longer relying on substance farming to earn a living.

The will and effort by residents in the two districts is also laudable. They managed to collect Rwf1.5 million to have the area connected. Other areas should borrow a leaf.

Rwanda faces a severe deficit in the energy sector, which is why the government is looking to scaling up investments in the sector over the next fiscal year.

The rural electrification programme is a noble cause but for it to be more effective, it must be implemented alongside other initiatives like giving the rural folks subsidies or setting lower tariff levels for them.

This will make electricity more affordable and accessible, thus transforming the socio-economic lives of rural communities.

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