Kagame Remains A Powerful Ruler Without Power — Electricity Still A Rare Commodity In Rwanda


The year 2020 is almost here. That is the timeframe for General Paul Kagame’ Rwanda to become middle-income. One thing is for sure . Kagame remains a powerful ruler without real power — as in electricity.

And without electricity, development is but a dream. The picture presented by the African Development Bank (AfDB) is not encouraging that the situation will change in the near future. AfDB is one of the major funders to Rwanda’s electricity sector.

In its September 2018 appraisal of Rwanda’s energy sector, AfDB gave a rather gloomy view. Nearly 7 million Rwandans who live in rural areas remain essentially in the dark. In other words, more than half of the country’s population don’t have electricity. These are the terms AfDB used in its September 2018 appraisal report to describe the electricity situation in Kagame’s Rwanda:

”Rwanda’s efforts to achieve universal electricity access face a number of challenges. As at the end of March 2018, while the urban population enjoyed greater access to electricity, about 83 % of rural dwellers had no electricity coverage. They represented about 6.9 million people…Rwanda’s investment in the electricity supply is failing to keep up…Consequently, the power system has become increasingly unreliable. The System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) for Kigali City for 2017 is 22 outages per year, compared to other cities in the region. At the same time, owing to seasonal variability of most hydropower plants, which are run-of-river, fossil fuels account for almost 48% of the energy generated (in 2017) leading to high average electricity tariffs of USD 0.21/kWh compared to Tanzania (USD 0.10/kWh) and Uganda (USD 0.13/kWh).”

How does a country in which more than half of its population still in darkness become middle-income?