Africa We Want

ENERGY: Edouard Ngirente Rwanda PM and Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, PM of Mauritius inaugurated .

Located in the Southern Province of Rwanda, Nyamagabe District, in Kibirizi sector, Rukarara Hydropower Plant was officially inaugurated by the prime ministers of Rwanda and Mauritius on Sunday, June 26.

The facility has one common powerhouse with two different intakes, one on Mushishito River and the other one on Rukarara River. It took Rwf 32 billion to be completed, and the project was finalised in five years. The hydropower plant was is expected to power on average an equivalent of 175,000 homes with clean energy.

It has been executed under a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) incorporated in Rwanda and operating under the name of Omnihydro Ltd, and on the basis of a Power Purchase Agreement signed between the company and the Energy Utility Corporation Ltd of Rwanda (EUCL).

According to Edouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of Rwanda, the hydropower plant has so far powered over 120 homes with clean energy. He said the investment is key, since it also contributes to the 7th sustainable development goal of ensuring access to affordable and clean energy. He noted that the hydropower plant will contribute to Rwanda’s target to achieve universal access to electricity by 2024.

« This investment advances our targets and advancement to ensure access to affordable and clean energy. We all know how energy is fundamental in our lives and there is a direct relationship between access to energy and socio economic development. Projects like this are answering the call of addressing the challenge of access to energy, which still has to be promoted despite availability of natural sources on the continent.

« As we recover from the pandemic, I am confident that we will achieve and do much more. We will continue to attract investments and make it easy to do business in Rwanda. » he said.

The Premier also revealed that 600 jobs were created during the construction phase of the power plant and many more are expected for the future, adding that before Covid-19, the investment from Mauritius reached over USD 800 million, equivalent to 25 percent of all investment originating from abroad.

He thanked Nyamagabe residents for having worked with investors to complete the facility and urged them to take good care of it, declaring that those who have not yet gotten electricity will get it by 2024 as the government sets to hit its target of supplying electricity to every home by the same year.

The power plant is an addition to existing four others built over River Rukarara. These include Rukarara I which produces 9.5 Megawatts and Rukara II generating 2.7 Megawatts among others.

Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius, said his country and Rwanda share the same commitment and are both determined to facilitate and deliver access to clean, simple, reliable and affordable energy to people, including sustainable electricity from both natural and creative methods.

Mauritius Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth hailed Rwanda for having provided conducive environment to investors from his country. He also underscored that the fruitful collaboration with Rwanda which led to the establishment of hydropower plant reflects how African countries can achieve great things by working together. The Prime minister assured continued collaboration with Rwanda in different development activities.

He revealed that Rukarara Hydropower Plant is one of the biggest projects by Mauritius companies in Africa, adding that its successful completion and operation is another major milestone of the mutually-beneficial cooperation between Mauritius and Rwanda.

He added: “Through this energy project, Omnicane has paved the way for future projects which can deliver impact investments to communities to meet immediate energy needs.”

The CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Clare Akamanzi in her remarks, she said that Rwanda entered partnership with Mauritius as both countries share ambitions of attracting investors and fostering cooperation for interests of their people.

In his remarks, Jacques M. d’Unienville, Chairperson of Omnihydro and CEO of Omnicane, thanked the Government of Rwanda and stakeholders for their support and reassurance in making the project come to life even during Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that in terms of environmental impact, the power plant is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 14,500T per year which is equivalent to tree plantation of some 1000 hectares per year.

He added: “We have mastered the learning curve and consider that we are now in a position to showcase Omnihydro as a successful tale of two countries committed to sustainable development. It is also important, especially on this occasion today, for me to underline the essential role played by our banker- the Mauritius Commercial Bank, MCB, for all the flexibility and support of this green field venture on the continent.”

The Rukarara Hydropower Plant also has a positive impact on the livelihood of Nyamagabe district from environmental, social and economic perspectives.

Jean Claude Byiringiro, a resident in Kibirizi Sector where the plant is located, said he has received electricity at home which came after he worked and got paid during the construction phase of the plant. He declared that he has been able to build a house and has bought livestock.

Emile Ndagijimana, who worked as a local labour supplier, said he has acquired technical and management skills, and has been able to buy a car, as well as get electricity at his house.

Author: MANZI


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