Rwanda has inaugurated Rukarara II Hydro Power Plant project in Nyamagabe District as part of the government’s initiative towards economic development by providing electricity to all Rwandans by 2020.
The 2.2 Megawatt power station was launched on 26th June 2014 by Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba.
The project started in January 2011 and was commissioned in March 2014 with the installed capacity of 2.2 MW (Megawatt) with interconnection lines of 4.2 kilometers connecting the plant to the national grid.
The project was financed by the Government of Rwanda, Kingdom of Belgium and European Union respectively.
During three years period of the project, residents in Buruhukiro and Uwinkingi sectors got part time jobs since 2011 to date. 750 households in the two sectors will get electricity, 60 in Gahira sector will also be electrified hence improved standards of living.
Hon Lwakabamba said due to the government‘s commitment of considering energy as part of the economic development about 18 per cent of Rwanda’s 10.5 million are so far currently connected to the national grid and the target is to cover at least 70 per cent of the population by 2017.
“We recognise the importance of energy in economic development. Electricity has proved to stimulate Small and Medium Enterprises that help transform people’s lives,” Lwakabamba said.
The power produced by Rukarara II will enhance small business growth such as barber shops, welding workshops, grain mills, internet facilities and other small business activities to operate for long hours hence economic growth towards meeting vision 2020 targets and millennium goals.
The project comes as an opportunity for creation of off-farm jobs for youth and women and this will contribute to the local and national economy at large.
The project will increase access to energy as the cornerstone of social and economic development, by offering opportunity for improved lives and economic growth for families and communities.
Much of millennium development goals will be achieved through sustainable modern source of energy reducing poverty, improving children and women’s health and broadened education.
Rwanda has set ambitious plans to increase production and distribution of electricity for its population to accelerate Vision 2020 and EDPRS to provide quantifiable targets with strong commitment.
Rukarara II power plant was successful due to continued partnership between three governments and they are aiming to have full connection to rural centers, schools for socioeconomic development.