The building of East Africa’s largest solar power plant in Rwanda is symbolic and a great vote of confidence in the country.
Executive Chairman, Institute for Global Change
On a visit to the Rwamagana plant, the founder and patron of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) said that it was “ground-breaking in terms of how you do these solar projects. It is a really important investment and a great international collaboration.”
The plant, which will provide power to over 15,000 Rwandan households and add almost 6 per cent to the country’s total energy supply, is one the first major projects to benefit from the work of the Strategic Capacity Building Initiative (SCBI).
This pioneering initiative, developed in partnership between the Government of Rwanda and AGI, pairs young Rwandan civil servants with established experts who together tackle key development issues including power generation, farmer productivity and securing inward investment.
Commenting on the power plant, Tony Blair said:
“It is a signal for other investors, because it’s been facilitated by the government working fast to make the investment happen. People know that when they come to Rwanda they can invest, without corruption.
“AGI has been working here to help build the capacity of the government to negotiate contracts like this. That is important because the government has to have the ability to negotiate the right deal for the government, and for the country. At a lot of different levels this is an important symbolic project.”
The $23m project, which adds 8.5MW to the national grid, was developed by Gigawatt Global following a power purchase agreement with the government. It was negotiated by those in working as part of the SCBI in the Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda’s Energy Utility.
It is situated on land owned by Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide. The village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village’s charitable expenses. As part of the visit, Tony Blair also spoke to young people at the Village
We have worked with the Government of Rwanda since 2008, supporting the systems and structures of effective government, so that the lives of millions of Rwandans in poverty can be improved.
Working in partnership with the government, their work has included helping unlock access to electricity for over a million Rwandans and providing expertise to a government scheme to boost the agricultural sector, halving crop losses for some farmers and securing 3 per cent growth across the sector.
The work described here was carried out by the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, it is now being continued by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.