The Rwandan government approved an energy-storage system that will provide 2.68 MW of energy to an irrigation project, according to The New Times. The equipment will be supplied by German company Tesvolt and will energize water pumps for irrigating crops. Authorities aim to mitigate stress on the national grid and secure food stability for struggling Rwandans.
The new investment will take place in the country’s Eastern Province, and there are currently no plans to extend the project on a national level. The project will not only enhance Rwanda’s energy security, but also improve the country’s vital agriculture sector.
The Rwandan Development Board is determined to improve agriculture, as many rural households depend on crop production as a primary source of income. Further, many small farmers have adopted modern agricultural methods and irrigation techniques, and wide-scale energy projects will be needed to produce higher crop output. Over 70% of Rwanda’s export revenues derive from the agriculture sector.
Power outages occur regularly throughout parts of Rwanda, and the situation is dire to the point where appliances and other electrics are routinely fried from rampant outages. The good news is that the government has reached out to private companies and other African countries in pursuit of additional power. Energy investment is a step forward, but more work lies ahead for a nation that contends with dire poverty.
While Rwanda has made significant strides in reducing poverty, nearly half of the nation’s people live in poverty and up to a third of people live in extreme destitution. President Paul Kagame has been instrumental in revamping his country’s image after the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s, and Kigali has attracted a wide array of investors after the atrocity.
With that, the international community has questioned Rwanda’s commitment to democracy and a free society, especially in wake of Kagame’s decision to remain in office beyond his official mandate. Despite the setbacks, the government seems determined to propel Rwanda to the next level. For instance, officials plan to connect 70% of rural residents to the electric grid by 2017, notes The Southern Times.
Moreover, the government intends to export renewable energy to other nations by 2021. The state is also investing in a diverse array of other energy sources, including methane and hydroelectric power.
Rwanda’s investment in energy is a sound strategy that will diversify the economy, especially as neighboring countries in the region struggle to provide electricity to citizens. In Rwanda’s case, energy investments will also attract greater investor interest throughout the world as authorities improve energy efficiency and infrastructure.