Rwanda’s development over the past twenty years has been impressive. Leaping from a once place of horrors, it is now the second best place to do business in Africa (Mauritius is first), outranking South Africa – the hitherto investment darling -- and is now the most attractive market for retailers to expand in the continent, besting Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.
And Rwanda has hit lots of other great milestones beyond the economy. For those of us in the Lighting industry, it is the clean energy development project that is most exciting about the progress in this Eastern African country. We could be wrong, but we don’t know of any country in Africa where the electricity capacity matches its market needs.
To address it’s dire energy shortage (only 17% of the population has access to electricity), Rwanda is firing from all cylinders: it plans to increase electricity generating capacity from about 110 MW to 560 MW by 2017 primarily through a combination of renewable energy (solar, hydro, geothermal ) gas and peat. In fact, its first solar park is set to be operational this year and will generate the equivalent of 8% of Rwanda’s current electricity capacity. In 2009, Rwanda in collaboration with International partners, initiated a project focused on energy efficiency that saw the initial deployment of CFL lighting country-wide, to replace conventional lighting.
With LEDs now a compelling alternative to CFLs, the Rwandese government is now Ledifying public institutions countrywide. It’s refreshing to see a government take energy efficiency seriously and we look forward to engaging with Rwanda on its clean energy path!
(This post was originally published May 03, 2014)