The government has launched two multi-million projects that will ease access to clean water and electricity in Eastern Province.
The clean water project was completed at $15 million (about Rwf10 billion) and will serve at least 55,000 residents from Kirehe and Ngoma districts.
Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, the minister for infrastructure, who launched the water project, also flagged off another to upgrade, rehabilitate and expand the Musha sub-station, an energy distribution facility, which will be completed at a cost of $30m (about Rwf20b).
Both projects are executed by Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
Speaking at the event in Rwamagana, Prof. Lwakabamba said the energy project will mitigate low access rate and severe power outages caused by the deteriorated equipment in the sub-station and distribution networks.
"Specifically, the plan is to upgrade the power system voltage in Musha and Rwinkwavu from 70kV to 110kV. It is a reinforcement that will reduce loss and increase reliability of power supply system in the province," he said.
The minister said this was in line with government plan to increase access to electricity in the country to at least 70 per cent by 2017.
"We use different sources to access electricity. This is in line with the EDPRS long term programme. Target is that every sector in the country will have sufficient electricity," he said.
Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda Kazuya Ogawa said his government was committed to helping Africa and Rwanda access water and electricity.
He said the projects would play a key role in the country's socio-economic progress.
"Japan attaches much importance to economic development in Africa. Accelerating infrastructure development is one of the main enablers. Energy in rural and urban will move Rwanda faster, to a middle economy," Ogawa said.
Steel plant sees roses:
Mohd Zaheeruddin, the general manager of Rwamagana Steel Factory, was optimistic that the increase of electricity capacity at Musha sub-station would benefit his plant, which has for years struggled for sufficient energy.
The sub-station's capacity will increase from 12 megawatts to 20 megawatts by April next year.
"Shortage of power greatly hampers our production. We currently operate below capacity because of electricity. That there is an increase of power at Musha is great news for us," he said.
Access to electricity in Eastern Province is currently at 22 per cent.