During the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which is estimated to have killed up to one million people, much of the country's infrastructure was destroyed. In particular, many energy generation and distribution facilities were affected. As a result, only about one fourth of the people of Rwanda have access to electricity. The government is working to restore the energy infrastructure, using, among other things, hydropower, methane, solar energy and geothermal power. It has set itself the target of providing stable access to electricity for 70 percent of the people by 2018.
Power for 20,000 households
Germany is assisting Rwanda in implementing its energy strategy. With German support, the Rwaza small hydropower plant is being built on the Mukungwa River in northern Rwanda, not far from the city of Musanze.
The plant is to be ready for operation at the end of 2018. It will then produce 20 gigawatt hours a year, or two percent of total electricity output in Rwanda. This will cover the annual power needs of 20,000 Rwandan households. As the power station will feed electricity into the local grid, local enterprises and industrial facilities will benefit from more stable power supplies.
Financing company for energy projects in Africa
In order to support energy projects in Africa such as the construction of the Rwaza small hydropower plant, the German Developmet Bank KfW set up a project development and financing company in 2014 on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation, the responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding (rAREH). This is a public-private company that takes part in the development, financing and operation of small to medium-sized energy facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the holding company, the partner on the private side is responsAbility, a Swiss-based asset management company. KfW contributed 20.5 million Euro to the holding company.
Since mid-2014, rAREH has been supporting the construction of the Rwaza small hydropower station as an investor, together with a Danish investor, Frontier Energy. Implementation lies in the hands of a local developer, DC Hydropower, which is supported by the American Power Africa Initiative.