Musanze, Rwanda – On June 21st, 2017 the Minister of Infrastructure James Musoni, U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles, German Ambassador to Rwanda Dr. Peter Woeste and other project partners visited and celebrated the construction of the Rwaza I hydropower plant in Northern Rwanda.
The hydropower plant was developed in part thanks to a grant provided by the United States Government’s Power Africa initiative. When completed, the hydropower plant will provide reliable, affordable electricity into the Rwandan national grid. The project will produce approximately 20 Gigawatt hours of electricity each year, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of approximately 20,000 Rwandan households.
The hydropower plant is expected to provide approximately 2 percent of the total electricity produced in the country, and will stabilize the local grid—improving power supply to local business and industries.
“American companies are at the forefront of helping Rwanda meet its energy needs and are driving investment in all energy sectors, including methane gas, off grid solar, and the mini-hydro sector,” said Ambassador Barks-Ruggles. “I am excited about the progress we have made over the past couple of years and the potential for further U.S. investment and engagement through the Power Africa initiative to help Rwanda meet its energy needs.”
“The Power Plant we are launching today might be small in size, but we have no doubt that even the 2.6 MW to be produced at Rwaza-Muko HydroPower Plant will greatly contribute to our bold vision. This project could not have come at a more opportune time, as we project our energy demand to soar from the current 208 MW installed capacity to a projected 570 MW by June 2024,” said Minister James Musoni.
“Together, we have reached an important milestone in the development and implementation of this project,” said Chad Bannick, CEO of DC HydroPower. “As developers and investors in the energy sector, we are thankful to be part of Rwanda’s initiative to reduce greenhouse gasses and provide clean, renewable energy to the people of Rwanda.”
Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz congratulated the groundbreaking of the project by stating, “This deal shows how the private sector and government can work together in Rwanda to get a deal across the finish line. The Rwaza 1 Hydropower Plant is another example of how the private sector can drive power generation and development throughout Africa.”
The construction of this new hydropower plant directly supports the Rwandan Government’s goal of providing 70 percent of its population with access to electricity by 2018. They also advance the objectives of Power Africa (U.S. Government-led electricity access initiative) and KfW (Germany’s government-owned development bank) in addressing one of the most pressing challenges to sustainable economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa – access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity.
“Rwanda needs more energy. And Germany believes in the future of clean and affordable energy. This project can be a perfect role model to link these needs and aspirations. As discussed at the G20 recently, we see the necessity to discuss innovative financing solutions. This project would fit perfectly into the new development approach. The German government’s bank, KfW, established “rAREH”, an investment fund to develop and operate renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. This fund is open for private investors to join us, to multiply funds,” said the German Ambassador to Rwanda Dr. Peter Woeste
Rwaza I am a 2.6 megawatt run-of-the-river hydropower plant located in the Rwaza Sector on the Mukungwa River, in Musanze District. The firm DC HydroPower identified and developed the project through the feasibility stage and the signing of a power purchase agreement with the Rwanda Energy Group. The firms Frontier Energy and ResponsAbility Renewable Energy Holding joined DC HydroPower as investment partners during the final stages of development.
Construction of the plant began in January 2017 and is expected to last 18 months, after which the plant will be operational. Rwaza 1, along with the nearby 4 megawatt Nyundo hydropower plant, received assistance from U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) —a Power Africa partner agency—during the development phase to complete the feasibility study. The Nyundo project is being developed by Amahoro Energy, a Rwandan company with US investors formed to electrify the Shyira Hospital, which serves more than 300,000 people, and is expected to commence construction on October 2017 and reach commercial operations by December 2018.
KIGALI – On June 13th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a 17.2 billion Rwandan Franc initiative, called Huguka Dukore, to train 40,000 Rwandan youth in workforce readiness skills by 2021.
USAID hosted a launch event for Huguka Dukore at the Kimisagara Youth Empowerment for Global Opportunities (YEGO) Center in Kigali, Rwanda. Attendees included Government of Rwanda ministers, the United States Ambassador to Rwanda, the Mission Director of USAID/Rwanda, and partners from the education, business, and private sectors.
Huguka Dukore, which means “Get Trained and Let’s Work!” in Kinyarwanda, targets Rwandan youth 16 to 30 years old who have between six and nine years of basic education. Huguka Dukore will connect its over 40,000 participants with relevant job skills training, so they can find stable employment, start their own small businesses, or pursue further education.
The training provided by Huguka Dukore includes work-based learning and internship opportunities, links to jobs and self-employment, entrepreneurship training and coaching, and access to financing, family planning, and reproductive health services. Hukuka Dukore will be implemented by the Education Development Center (EDC) over five years.
At the launch event, the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles emphasized the importance the U.S. government places on partnering with Rwanda to ensure its youth have the opportunity and skills needed to drive economic development and build their future. She stressed the importance of partnering with the private sector and civil society to accomplish the goals of the program. “We are here today to embark on this partnership because we recognize the importance of youth in the future of Rwanda’s continued prosperity,” she said. “Together we can achieve our ambitious targets and reach our goal of a strong, vibrant and flourishing Rwanda for many years to come!”
The Minister of State in charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Olivier Rwamukwaya, was the guest of Honor at the Launch. He emphasized the importance of this program in contributing to Rwanda’s development goals, particularly the “Made in Rwanda” policy and the National Employment Program’s goal of creating at least 200,000 jobs per year.
The launch event was preceded by a miniature exposition of Huguka Dukore’s activities, vision, and goals. Rwandan youth expressed their aspirations and expectations from Huguka Dukore, particularly their hope to be linked further training, coaching, and employment opportunities in Huguka Dukore’s growing network of partners.