The New Times (Kigali)

22 February 2013

Rwanda: Rural Electrification Will Change Lives

Photo: Greenpeace
Installing a solar panel (file photo).

The World Bank has approved $60 million (Rwf39.6 billion) in additional financing for the extension of electricity to Rwandan schools, health centres, hospitals and other public facilities.

This funding, under the Electricity Access Rollout Programme (EARP), will increase the number of rural households that will be able to enjoy the benefits of electrification. By December 2012, over 332,000 households had been connected to the electricity grid under the Electricity Access Rollout Programme, up from only 110,000 in 2009.

The majority of the Rwandan workforce still lives outside the major urban centres. Therefore, unless this workforce is given the tools to fully utilize its potential, we shall be shackling our own progress.

Just imagine how many more children will be able to revise at night? Just how many new businesses will open because of the availability of electricity? How many small barbershops and workshops?

Presently, Rwanda's economy is growing at a fast seven per cent, which is a product of our handwork and good government policies. However, imagine just how much higher that statistic would be with hundreds of thousands of more households accessing electricity? Gross Domestic Product would probably jump.

This additional financing is going to help catapult the Rwandan economy into middle-income status.

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