Public institutions such as schools, hospitals and clinics in Rwanda are set to benefit from the new additional electricity roll-out financing from World Bank.
This comes following the World Bank Board of Directors’ approval of $60 million (approximately Rwf36 billion) additional financing aimed at bringing electricity to more Rwandans.
In a statement, the World Bank said the loan financing was provided by the International Development Association, (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries.
The programme Rwanda’s Electricity Access Rollout Program (EARP), to which the financing will be channeled, has helped to bring electricity to 332,000 households by December 2012, up from only 110,000 in 2009.
EARP is a multi-donor program jointly financed by the African Development Bank, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Belgium, European Union (EU), Japan, Netherlands, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Saudi Fund and the World Bank which have mobilized $348.2 million for this important initiative.
The approval will provide bridging financing required to maintain the EARP’s momentum as the Government of Rwanda continues to mobilize additional resources.
“Rwanda’s rural population needs access to electricity. They need electricity in their economic lives, in their homes, in their schools and in their clinics,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda.
“We recognize the country’s rural development program will not take off without provision of basic infrastructure to stimulate investments in rural areas in addition to improving service delivery, especially at schools, clinics and hospitals where lighting is essential.”
The electrification program is helping to bring benefits to rural areas such as improved lighting thereby extending the number of working hours and reducing spoilage of fresh products due to availability of refrigeration and cooling.
Since the electricity rollout program began, a number of small and medium businesses are coming up such as agro-processing industries, thus adding value to food products, reducing post-harvest losses and increasing farmer incomes.
Electricity has also contributed to improved service delivery, especially in health, education and administrative services with provision of new services such as vaccinations and improved laboratory tests that were not possible earlier.