Rwanda has out-ranked its African peers in the 2018 Climatescope Report published by BloombergNEF (BNEF), which placed it fifth out of 103 countries for creating opportunities in clean energy investment.
This is most likely attributed to its impressive electrification effort that quadrupled over the past seven years — scaling from 10 percent in 2010 to 44 percent in 2017. Both on-grid and off-grid energy solutions made this possible.
“Through 2017, over 185,000 solar home systems and nearly 300,000 solar lanterns have been distributed throughout the country,” said the Climatescope report.
It went on to say that the national utility, Rwanda Energy Group, (REG), has played an integral part in this growth by establishing demarcation zones to reach the ambitious goal of 100 percent electrification by 2024, with 48 percent of that being off-grid.
Today, Rwanda’s clean energy is mostly hydropower, at just under 50 percent. Other energy solutions include solar, natural gas and diesel.
According to the report, clean energy became a top priority of the Rwanda government when it separated the energy and water operations in order to improve efficiency, planning and accountability, attract more investment and increase population access to services. Meeting these targets are a part of national goals articulated in the EDPRS II (Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy) from 2013.
Winifred Ngangure, Head of Investment Promotion at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said at the 2018 Africa Green Growth Investment Forum, “Leadership is an elusive quality to quantify. Still, this year’s Climatescope offers compelling evidence that developing nations are at the forefront of change toward a cleaner-powered future.”
There are a number of private players in Rwanda’s generation sector, but the most prominent developer is the state-owned Energy Development Corporation Ltd. Currently, the country has a backlog of contracted projects, along with an oversupply of on-grid generation. Because of this, the country is said to be “focusing on near-term investment into transmission and distribution, both of which are fully controlled by REG” (Climatescope).
While Rwanda is at the forefront in clean energy investment in Africa, its leadership is urging other emerging economies across the continent to join them. Ngangure concluded at the Africa Green Growth Investment Forum that “the health and wealth of our continent requires that we prioritize green growth. Not only to increase jobs and grow our economies, but to create a future in which future generations can realize their hopes and dreams.”
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