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The 2021 energy progress report has listed Rwanda among 20 countries in the whole world that have extensively rolled out electricity to their communities over the past 10 years.

The report is a product of a partnership between the World Bank and bodies such as the International Energy Agency that is published ahead of the launch of the first United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy in decades, which is due in September.

The report also underscores the importance of policies that promote an enabling environment for fast growth in line with the SDG target 7.1 which is universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services.

Highlighting the countries with the highest electrification pace, Rwanda emerged among the top 20 countries with an on-grid electrification covering 38% in 2019 whereas the annualized increase in access rate from 2010 to 2019 stood at 3.1%.

“Several countries stand out for their annual rate of growth in access between 2010 to 2019. Rwanda, a small country located in Sub-Saharan Africa where a majority of the global unserved population live, is a good example”, reads the report in part.  

The report also commended Rwanda’s electrification efforts to expand access at tremendous rates: “Rwanda’s annual electrification rate was greater than the world average between 2010 and 2019 and in the 2017–19 period, annual access growth in the country outpaced its population growth”.

Other African countries on the list include Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, Liberia and Togo.

Rwanda’s electrification access has been scaled up from 10% in 2010 to 65% percent in mid-2021, latest figures from Rwanda Energy Group indicate.

In the figure, 47.2% connected to on-grid and 17.8% accessed through off-grid systems (mainly solar).

Rwanda’s target is to have 100% access to electricity in households by 2024.

To achieve the development, reads the report, the government of Rwanda employed an off-grid sector so as to leave no one behind by lowering the price consumers pay for power and making solutions affordable to the poorest households.

“Rwanda decided to launch an end-user subsidy pilot in 2019 to complement supply-side subsidies that were not enough to reach certain customers”.

With implementation support from the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) and Energy Development Corporation Limited, according to the report, Rwanda’s government is delivering a consumer subsidy scheme valued at USD 47 million for solar home systems and clean cooking solutions. - Bertrand Byishimo, The New Times

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