June 25, 2019

Why There Are Less Power Outages In Rwanda Compared To Region

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Multi-million dollar Peat power plant under construction in rural Gisagara district, southern Rwanda to produce 80MW. It is expected to be complete in March next year at a cost of Rwf 289 billion

Companies in Rwanda said they incurred the least losses of business whenever power went off, says a World Bank study released Tuesday.

Businesses recorded 3% losses, which was the least such impact from the shortage of electricity common in many African countries.

The Banks’s Rwanda Economic Update called ‘Lighting Rwanda’ previews the country’s progress towards the UN goal of universal access to electricity.

The business sector in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi where asked the same question: “What Is the Percentage of Sells That You Estimate You Lose from electricity Outage?”

Kenyan companies said they lost 7%, compared to Uganda at 8%. Tanzanian firms are by far making the biggest losses of 18%. Burundians were also losing at same rate like Rwandans.

For 2015-2016, there was a total 450 elctricity outages in Rwanda. However, the number dropped to 120 electricity interruptions by June 2018.

Companies in Rwanda recorded 4 cuts a week, as those in Uganda and Kenya had 6 outages, Tanzania 9 and Burundi 17.

Norah Kipwola, World Bank senior energy economist, who presented the findings also said while 63% of firms experienced power outages, Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan firms were worse off; Uganda at 82%, Burundi and Tanzania at 85%, as 89% of Kenyan firms suffered repeated power cuts.

The report says that there has been 78.9 % growth per annum in electricity connectivity in Rwanda – whereby now 51% of the population is connected – far above the 10% in 2009.

In 2010 Rwanda had 88MW, which has grown to 221MW.

“The five-fold increase in electricity access within ten years is almost unprecedented, when compared with electricity access expansion in similar countries,” Said Yasser El-Gammal, World Bank country Manager for Rwanda.

Robert Nyamvumba, Energy Division Manager at the Ministry of Infrastructure said; “The best thing is that we first repaired the electricity substations….that is what Rwanda was busy doing.”

In general, apart from energy which was the focus for this Rwanda Economic Update of World bank, the report also paints a rosy picture for the economy as performing well.

“Supported by conducive macroeconomic policies, Rwanda continues to enjoy a strong economic memontum characterized by high growth and low inflation,” said Aghassi Mkrtchyan, Senior Economist at The World Bank.

However, one of the biggest challenges in Rwanda is that its cost of electricity is very high compared to the rest of the region.

The survey found widespread complaints of expensive power among Rwandan companies.

Household consumers also have problems affording electricity at the present tariffs, a problem that will be aggravated as the rural electrification drive reaches ever poorer parts of the population.

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