The most frequently asked question addressed to me is this – “what is President Paul Kagame’s biggest economic failure? With hesitation, it is power-generation and access to electricity by Rwandan households and industry. And there is plenty evidence for this so you do not have to take my word for this. Let us look at this question a bit more closely.
Domestic Power generation in Rwanda is derived from the following sources:
* Ntaruka (hydro) built in 1959 which currently produces 11.25 Megawatts;
* Mukungwa (hydro) built in 1982 which currently produces 12 Megawatts;
* Gihira (hydro) built in 1984 currently producing 0.7 Megawatts;
* Jabana I (diesel) built in 2004 which currently produces 7.8 Megawatts;
* Gikondo (diesel) built in 2005 which currently produces 10 Megawatts;
* Jali (solar) built in 2007 which currently produces 0.25 Megawatts;
* Methane gas which came on stream in 2008 currently producing 1.2 Megawatts
* Jabana II (heavy fuel oil) built in 2009 currently producing 14 Megawatts;
Power imported from the region is derived from the following sources:
* Ruzizi I (hydro) built in 1957 currently supplying 3.5 Megawatts;
* Ruzizi II (hydro) built in 1989 currently supplying 10 Megawatts.
When Rwandan officials claim that the country has 100 Megawatts, they are stretching the truth – they are conveniently quoting the “total installed capacity” in the case of domestic sources and “contracted capacity” as opposed to the actual “available capacity.” For example, while Jabana II is capable of supplying 21 Megawatts, it is currently supplying only 14 Megawatts.http://www.ewsa.rw/generation.html
When all these factors are taken into considerable, available power in Rwanda today – both installed and contracted – will most unlikely exceed 72 Megawatts.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Electricity generation since President Paul Kagame came to power has been in perpetual crisis. And it is easy to figure out why. His priorities are elsewhere despite the official rhetoric. To appreciate this, compare the amount of power Kagame found in place and the power that came on stream since he ascended into the Rwandan presidency.
As shown above between 1957 and 2004, there was no new power generation effort in Rwanda, which means therefore that President Kagame found in Rwanda a total of 37.65 Megawatts (both domestic and contracted). Since 2004 when the first power-generation was initiated by the Kagame government up to the present, 33.25 Megawatts have been installed. In other words, much of electricity in Rwanda today is generated from pre-Paul Kagame sources.
Most Rwandans will recall that the Kagame regime was caught totally off guard in 2004 when load-shedding increased drastically ending into a major power crisis by 2009. That is when the World Bank and other donors stepped in with what became known as “The Urgent Electricity Rehabilitation Project” (UERP) to save the day. UERP sought to increase the power supply to 75 Megawatts in 2010 effectively adding 20 Megawatts. This is how Jabana II came into being in 2009 – donor effort.http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:22707397~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html
By 2012, even Jabana II was no longer coping and is currently producing 14 Megawatts leading to a new round of blackouts in Kigali that receives the lion’s share of power!
To give you an idea of how little power the powerful Rwandan ruler has at his disposal, consider the following:
* I estimate that one Megawatt powers 1,000 homes in Canada – in other words, Rwanda’s total electricity can only power 75,000 homes, equivalent to a small North American town.
* Rwanda’s total power cannot run two large Google data centres – each data centre requires 50 Megawatts.http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2011/08/01/report-google-uses-about-900000-servers/
And then came the Kagame government in December 2012 promising heaven. Right inside the famously women-majority parliament, the government claimed that in five-years time or by 2017 Rwanda will be generating 1,000 Megawatts at a cost of US$5bil. http://m.gov.rw/Rwanda-plans-to-increase-power-production-to-1-000-by-2017-from-the-current-110-8-MW
This may be another tall tale, as the Kagame Kigali-Isaka-Dar-Es-Salaam lunatic express. Oh, and there is of course the recently-unveiled Kigali-Mombasa rail and pipeline…..