20 June 2014

Tanzania: Rea Envisages 'Lighting' More Homes in Rural Areas

RURAL Energy Agency (REA) have launched rural electrification investment prospectus to assist them on adequate data and identify number of villages which have no electricity as well as supporting the electrification policy.

Speaking during the event, Assistant Commissioner for Energy and Gas from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Eng Norbert Kahyoza, said that the prospectus will help them to identify areas with critical needs.

Eng Kahyoza further added that the prospectus has proposed a strategy for the period of 2013-2014 which promises considerably advanced electrification in a cost efficient way.

"The prospectus indicates how the investments could be financed and determines the institutional, regulatory and capacity strengthening measures required for implementation," he said.

The Engineer elaborated that the prospectus encompasses urban and rural electrification, in the meantime REA should also consider poor people in urban who cannot afford paying connection fee for electricity as even in the cities there are villages.

Expounding further, he said that in electrifying rural areas, cooperation from all key stakeholders were crucial, adding that large population of Tanzanians still lives in small, remote and dispersed communities that cannot be connected to the conventional grid in a sustainable manner at the moment.

"Providing electricity access to all will need multiple and innovative solutions that include grid, mini grid, stand alone household system and modern efficient lighting products," said Eng Kahyoza Rural Energy Board Chairman, Mr Edmund Mkwawa, said that the official figure for rural access to electricity by 2014 were 36 per cent from its baseline figure of 10 per cent when the agency started in 2007.

"During this period REA and Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) have undertaken several grid extension projects and other off grid projects electrifying district headquarters, social and economic development centres, schools and health facilities," he said.

Mr Mkwawa said that in developing countries access to affordable and reliable energy services were important to reduce poverty. It is necessary to stimulate economic activity like operating businesses and creating employment.

A representative for Development partners group (DPG), Senior Advisor at NORAD, Mr Geir Hermansen, said that the purpose of rural electrification to have impact on subsidies for power generation investments projects.

"The funding from NORAD was important and the support is not business type, we want to ensure rural areas have access to electricity," he said.

According to the UN, the world's population will reach almost 10 billion people by 2050. As a result of economic growth and a growing population, it is expected global energy demand to increase by 35 per cent over the next twenty years.

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