Powering Development: Strategic audit of Rwanda’s electricity sector in transformation
Rwanda has already come a long way, in a short time, in transforming its electricity sector. Before 2011–12 the poor functioning of Rwanda’s electricity system acted as a serious constraint on economic development and poverty reduction. System outages and capacity shortfalls were frequent, and the supply that did exist, unreliable though it was, came at a very high cost, with supply expansion decisions often being made in emergency situations (e.g., during drought conditions) and as a result leading to sub-optimal system integration which incurred high costs. Manufacturing industry viewed the unreliability of supply as a serious impediment to investments, with most new sites perceiving a need to invest in back-up diesel generation. Meanwhile access to electricity reached just 15% of households, and was growing at an unacceptably slow rate.
The past five years have seen a turnaround in both the government’s approach toward electricity sector policy, and a notable improvement in outcomes. The new Rwanda Energy policy and the detailed Energy Sector Strategic Plan were developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Infrastructure between 2012 and 2014 and received cabinet approval in early 2015, establishing both ambitious high level targets and multiple new programs to build capabilities. These initiatives have triggered and focused high activity and gained the support of both key donors and private investment. As a result the electricity grid has been substantially reinforced, reducing the incidence of outages, and access to electricity has grown substantially, with grid access reaching 28% by 2016 and nearly all urban areas having full access.
This report by IHS Markit maps the institutional framework underpinning authority and accountability across the Rwandan electricity sector in order to advise how key institutional processes may need to adapt and evolve as strategic needs and economic growth impose new requirements.
Read the report below.