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European, African firms eye ample renew-
able energy opportunities in Rwanda

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Investors from Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Program (RECP) are looking for “good deals” in the evolving private renewable energy sector in Rwanda, according to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

The business personnel are part of the trade mission to the small central African country consisting of up to 20 European and African companies from the solar energy and small hydro power sector.

The RDB on Monday kicked off a two-day business forum with RECP investors through extensive networking and business match-making sessions in the Capital Kigali.

Rwanda hosts the Africa-EU RECP trade mission meeting from 6th to 8th March 2017 that focuses on enabling participants to identify new business opportunities, exchange know-how, and find Partners for joint business development.

“Rwanda is full of business opportunities. Renewable energy is an area where little has been done to exploit the potential of the sector. We are glad investors from Africa-Europe Renewable Energy Cooperation Program are willing to support the development of renewable and clean energy in our country,” Mark Nkurunziza, chief finance officer of RDB told reporters on Monday during the meeting.

He added that during the business forum participants will be able to forge strong connections with potential business partners, identify technology solutions from leading European providers and engage with relevant financiers and investors.

According to Michael Ryan, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda, the Africa-EU RECP will open the door for other European investments in Rwanda within the energy sector.

“When looking at the financing of development in relation to Rwanda’s energy sector, it is evident that investors are keen to get a slice of the country’s renewable energy development program,” he said.

Rwanda has set an ambitious target of increasing its installed electricity generation capacity to 563 MW within the next two years, both on grid and off grid, with an aim of achieving 70 percent electrification connectivity by 2018 from 24 percent at the moment.

To support Rwanda energy capacity increment, in December 2015, the World Bank approved 95 million U.S. dollars for Rwanda’s energy sector.

Last year, Rwanda unveiled a mega methane gas power plant the Kivu-Watt Gas Power project, which is expected to produce 100 megawatts from Lake Kivu, Karongi district, western province, the world’s only methane rich water body.

Rwanda is set to import 30 megawatts from Kenya on a five-year long arrangement expected to start later this year. The country also plans to import 400MW of power from Ethiopia by 2018, aimed at increasing electricity supply in the country, especially for industrial use.

In February 2015, Rwanda unveiled 23.7 million U.S. dollars solar power plant, the first of its kind in the region and the third in Africa after the ones in South Africa and Mauritius.

The utility power located in Rwamagana district, eastern province that was developed by the Netherlands-based company, Gigawatt Global, adds 8.5 MW to the national electricity grid.



Rwanda pledges more allegiance to regional integration

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda is committed to supporting the deepening of integration of the East African Community (EAC) to achieve economic and social prosperity of the citizens within the region.

He made the remarks on Monday while addressing a Special Sitting of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) which starts a two-week session at the Rwandan Parliamentary buildings in the capital Kigali.

The EALA is the law-making organ of the EAC established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. Being the legislative arm of the community, members are sworn into five-year terms.

The regional parliament is responsible for, among other things, approving budgets of the EAC and debating audit reports.

“East Africa is increasingly perceived as a region on the move. We have to continue to meet these high expectations. It is easier to trade and do business with each other and we are collaborating to expand energy and transportation infrastructure,” said Kagame.

He noted that citizens of the EAC member countries move more freely than ever before and communication within the region has become more affordable and convenient.

“Much of this progress was the result of political will, responding to the needs and aspirations of our citizens. Rwanda’s commitment to the East African Community ten years after we acceded to the treaty is stronger than ever. Integration is not a zero-sum game. When we work together, we are all better off,” Rwanda president said.

Kagame also called upon the deepening of Africa integration saying that the continent must have a strong and unified voice that communicates the aspirations and positions of Africa on the global stage.

This will be the Third Assembly’s last sitting in Kigali as its term ends in June when a new Assembly [the Fourth Assembly] is expected to be ushered in.

According to Dan Kidega, speaker of EALA, strong support from the leadership of EAC member states will play a key role towards advancing regional integration.

“Deepened EAC agenda will be achieved through regional free trade areas, progressing towards customs union, a common market, monetary union and political federation. We are grateful for member countries that have strongly supported this journey to achieve socio-economic prosperity of the citizens, “he explained.

EAC is made up of six countries including Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.




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