Rwanda seeks foreign backing for $6bn energy expansion
16 March 2012
Creamer Media's Engineering News - March 16, 2012
Rwanda is banking on foreign lenders to raise $6-billion for a major energy expansion programme aimed at tackling severe electricity shortages and powering its fast-expanding economy.
The government of the East African nation has told potential investors in the capital, Kigali, that it requires between $5-billion and $6-billion over the next seven years to finance energy projects with capacity to generate 1 000 MW.
“Access to energy is the pillar of any economic development, and that’s why we prioritise it for the period to 2017. We want more private invest- ment because government cannot finance these projects alone,” said Minister of State for Water and Energy Emma Francoise Isumbingabo.
She told more than 250 international, regional and local delegates at a conference that Rwanda had vast potential to generate electricity from hydropower, geothermal and methane sources but lacked the required financial resources.
Though Rwanda is the fastest-growing economy in East Africa, at an average of 7% a year, according to the World Bank, the country’s electricity output currently stands at a paltry 100 MW, while only 11% of the population has access to electricity. In 2009, Rwanda’s population was ten-milllion.