Kagame, 84% Of Rwanda Rural Households Have No Electricity

Students from Case Western Reserve University from Cleveland, Ohio, helping Rwandans to install solar panels in their villages, 2017.

By David Himbara

Dear General Paul Kagame, your friends at the World Bank recently assessed your energy sector since granting you US$125 million to improve electrification last year. Their assessment is dated January 31, 2019. According to the assessment, 47.6 percent of Rwandans have access to electricity — 36 percent are on-the national grid while 11.6 percent off-grid. In other words, 52.4 percent of Rwandans do not have electricity.

But here is the worst news. The percentage of rural households with access to electricity stands at 16 percent. Put differently, 84 percent of Rwandan rural households do not have electricity.

Lastly, due to old transmission and distribution infrastructure 20 percent of power is lost. This means that 44.2 megawatts (MW) of Rwanda’s total capacity of 221.1 MW are lost, leaving the country with 176.9 MW in a country of 12 million.

For a comparison, China Telecom’s data centre at Inner Mongolia Information Park consumes over 150 MW. A steel mill is powered by 200 to 300 MW of electricity.