Rwanda had 50 000 households connect to the national grid for the first time in the Kirehe, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma, Gatsibo and Nyagatare districts, Venture Africa reported.

story3This success story is owed to the 4 year $68 million power project, implemented by the Rwanda Energy Group who partnered with various private companies.

According to Venture Africa, this was revealed at a validation workshop which was focused around the correlation of the country’s socio-economic development and the electrification project. In depth discussions were held around the impacts which the project had on the socio-economic status.

Epimak Rutingama, a social economists involved in the impact assessments of the project said that benefits were seen in income generation, health and education.

‘The survey showed that users of electricity were considerably better off than the non-users with regard to their socio-economic status and living conditions. Socio-economic status and living conditions of household heads as measured by different variables appear to be strongly associated with using electricity which resulted in a greater level of satisfaction with their life situation’, Rutingama said.

Ventures Africa reported that Odette Uwamariya, Provincial Governor, said that the project increased electrification from 11 percent to 22 percent.

‘Schools, health centres, Saccos (credit and savings co-operatives) benefitted. We can now go beyond just home lighting to starting agro-based industries’, Uwamariya said.

The global need for electrification has been based on three arguments, according to a report from the energy initiative PRODUSE (Productive Use of Electricity), Ventures Africa reported:

  1. Modern energy is essential to achieve seven of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
  2. The use of modern energy will allow the poor communities in developing countries to interact and engage with activities that will encourage job creation and improve their overall wellbeing.
  3. Excluding communities from modern energy is a sign of poverty which is then increasing the gap between the haves and have not’s instead of bridging it.

Both the private and public sectors are pulling all of their resources together to address and improve the energy crisis in Africa. With continued efforts from all stakeholders within the sectors, rapid advancements are not too far in the future and Africa will no longer be supressed to a future of darkness.