The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) last week approved an additional loan worth $12 million to an earlier amount of $10 million to boost the country’s Electricity Access Scale-up Roll-out Programme.
Meeting in its 140th Session, in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday, the Governing Board of the OFID, approved 12 loans and grants totalling over $201 million to boost socio-economic development in 29 partner countries.
According to a statement from OFID, “the bulk of the funding will co-finance projects aimed at combating energy and poverty, followed by loans to help bolster the agriculture, education, health and transportation sectors of the recipient countries.”
In an e-mail to The New Times, the external resources mobilisation expert at the ministry of Finance, Jean Bosco Ndaruhutse, “these additional funds will be dedicated to the construction of the Rukarara Substation and Rukarara – Kilinda High Voltage line.”
“The two activities will facilitate the dispatch in a reliable way, energy from Rukarara Power Plant to the national grid (including to Kigali City). The line additionally help in the power transmission from planned Hydro Power Plants of Rukarara I and II and other different micro hydro power plants expected in the surrounding area,” Ndaruhutse explained.
The portfolio of projects funded by OFID in the country includes among others a new project to co-finance Lot Six of the Kivu Belt Multinational Road with OFID’s contribution amounting $10 million; co-financing the rehabilitation of Kitabi-Congo Nil (Nyungwe Forest) Road for $10 Million; the rehabilitation of Ngororero – Mukamira Road for $10m; the Umutara Community Resources and Infrastructure Development Programme for $8 million; and contribution to the ongoing Three Hydroelectric Power Plants Rehabilitation Project in Mukungwa, Gihira and Rubavu to the tune of $ 3 million..
Apart from hydropower, the government continues to search for alternative sources of electricity. About 16 per cent of the country’s population has access to electricity but government seeks to scale up access in rural areas to 35 per cent by 2020.
As the OPEC Fund approved the $12 million loan last Thursday, Government and Hakan Mining and Generation Industry and Trade Inc, a Turkish corporation, signed a $283 million (Rwf 169.8billion) loan agreement to set up a peat power plant in the peat-rich wetlands of Nyanza and Gisagara districts in the Southern Province.
It is expected that the country will, in the next two years, begin to generate power from peat energy. It is estimated that the country has peat reserves of up to 155 million tonnes capable of generating 450MW of energy every 12 months.