Rwanda: Electricity - Over 90 Connected in Burera

15 October 2019

Despite being home to Ntaruka Hydropower Plant, for long, most parts of Nkumba had never had access to electricity.

The locals were accustomed to seeing electricity cables hovering over their houses taking power to other regions.

This prompted them to persistently ask the government to address the issue of lack of access to electricity.

The challenge has now been addressed. The Rwanda Energy Group (REG), which is taking part in the national civic education training (Itorero) at Nkumba Peace and Leadership Training Centre in Burera District, connected 98 households in the area to national electricity grid free of charge.

The connected residents are from Nkumba Cell in Kinoni Sector in Burera District.

The beneficiaries welcomed the development, saying they used to travel long distances looking for electricity to charge their mobile phones and other services.

"We used to travel four kilometres to access electricity in other trading centres and we were not comfortable with this," said Théogène Bagirimbikira, a resident of Ntaruka Cell.

Bagirimbirika went on to say that he now plans to establish a maize miller in his village thanks to the availability of electricity.

"I have ordered for a flour mill to optimise this infrastructure (electricity) that the Government gave us," he said.

Emmanuel Mugisha, a university graduate, wants to follow in Bagirimbirika's footsteps and establish an income generating activity in the village, saying he was ready to set up a barbershop.

"I have had ambitions to set up a barbershop in my village and with electricity, it is a dream come true," he noted. "With my barbershop, I will never cry of unemployment again and I am keen to employ some of the youth who are struggling with getting jobs," he said.

Marie Nyirasafari, the Executive Secretary of Kinoni Sector, said she was confident that more businesses will be created in her sector.

She called upon residents to be more innovative and create more businesses that will help them fight poverty.

Geoffrey Zawadi, the director of Human Resources at REG, said that connecting Nkumba residents to electricity is part of the country's overall ambitions of achieving universal electricity connectivity 2024.

"We, at REG, are trying to do all our best so as to help the Government achieve its commitment to have all the residents connected to the power as early as possible; this is because we have already found that to achieve the plan is quite possible," he noted.

Figures from REG indicate that Rwandans with access to electricity currently stand at 51 per cent of the population.

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