Leonard Kassana, Senior Energy Consultant, Ngali Energy Ltd, Rwanda. A hydropower expert, he will address the iPAD Rwanda conference on “Highlights on the progress of the 120MW Nygaborabgo II and 80MW Regional Rusumo hydropower schemes”. He is also the moderator of the hydropower roundtable discussion at the event.
1. Please tell us more about your organisation and the projects you are involved in?
GE Hydro (EA) Consulting is an engineering and development consultancy company with a worldwide network. Our highly experienced professionals specialize in techno-economic and management consultancy services. We offer expertise in two key areas, namely Natural Resources and Renewable Energy and Water & Environment. More information on our company services and capabilities can be obtained at www.gehydroplanea.com.
Currently, I am providing all year round consulting services to my client Ngali Energy in Rwanda whose energy portfolio includes small hydropower projects in Rwanda and thermal power plant in South Sudan. In Rwanda, Ngali Energy operates and maintains a 9 MW power plant located on Rukarara River in the southern part of Rwanda feeding averagely about 40 GWh annually to the national grid. In her small hydropower (SHP) portfolio, Ngali Energy is at advanced stage of implementing 5 SHPs whose total installed capacity will be 12.8MW after securing a 30 years’ concession agreement from GoR this August 2015. More info on Ngali Energy can be accessed at http://ngalienergy.com/
2. What are the current challenges with regards to power generation in Rwanda?
Rwanda economy is fast growing and it has been on the record to have a GDP real growth rate ranging between 6.2% and 11.2% (www.rdb.rw) for the period between 2007 and 2012. To sustain this economic growth, electricity is a major driver and a catalyst that needs to be worked on. The epic challenge of the 21st century in Rwanda like many other countries is filling the gap between energy supply and demand with clean, reliable and inexpensive energy.
Currently, Rwanda has an installed capacity of 165 MW mainly from hydropower, solar, diesel and methane gas. Rwanda population is said to have electricity connectivity of more than 23 %. The GoR has target to increase generation installed capacity of about 563 MW by 2018 and to reach this target is not an easy task. There are serious challenges/hurdles on the way that need to be addressed. These hurdles are mainly related to finance availability, lack of adequate technical capacity on the side local engineers and technicians as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers for critical equipment/material.
IPPs are often the best and fastest route to add generation capacity on the grid, but government should play a critical role in identifying projects and bringing them to bankable levels.
3. The Rwandan authorities are actively promoting the country as an investment friendly environment – how is it doing business there?
Radical reforms which have made it easier for businesses to get credit, pay taxes, starting a business have boosted Rwanda’s ratings in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report’.
Rwanda is the most improved economy worldwide since 2005 (World Bank Doing Business Report 2014). It came in 32nd out 189 countries as per 2014 Word Bank Doing Business Report In 2012, Rwanda introduced about reforms to ease doing business in the country. It now takes 6 working hours to register your business. In 2013, the World Bank Doing Business report reflects Rwanda the 2nd easiest to do business in Africa after Mauritius. Rwanda is the easiest country to do business in East Africa.
4. What kind of business opportunities are there in the country with regards to infrastructure?
There are numerous opportunities for investment in the energy sector in Rwanda. By the fact that Rwanda still has very low electricity consumption per capita, presents great opportunities for investors within the energy sector. There is a reasonable, good conducive and enabling environment for business and investments.
There are many opportunities in energy, roads, railway, air transport, inland water transport, public transportation. For details on the investment opportunities on major infrastructures, please visit http://www.rdb.rw/rdb/infrastructure.html.
5. How excited are you about the East African region as a business destination?
The East Africa region consisting of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda has about 150 Million people and this is a very strong market force that will definitely attract FDIs if all other enabling environment/regimes are in place. This region is endowed with so many natural resources be it precious minerals, natural gas, methane gas, oil. It is also endowed with very rich wild life as well as other touristic attractions such top highest peaks in Africa, great lakes, hydropower resources, etc. The region is also endowed with agriculture potentials for both cash crops and food crops. Most of the agriculture practices are still traditional rudimentary cultivation methods. There are still huge investment opportunities for modern and mechanized farming in the region.
6. You are part of the programme at this year’s iPAD Rwanda, what will be your message?
My message to the participants is, take this opportunity to network and make exploratory discussions with one another to potentially unlock business opportunities that are already available in Rwanda and elsewhere in East Africa. The iPAD Rwanda conference brings in a very diverse community of professionals and business persons as well as policy makers whom you can interact with during this grand annual business forum, the only of its kind in East Africa.
7. How did you find last year’s iPAD Rwanda?
iPAD Rwanda 2014 was a superb and an excellent forum that brought my network worldwide to another level. As a result of this forum participation, I was able to make and initiate serious business deals that are now being put into implementation. It is the forum that should not be missed!