Rwanda - Country Commercial Guide
Energy

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-10-07

Overview

About half of Rwandans currently have access to electricity (close to 100 percent in urban areas but less than 35 percent in rural areas).  In a bid to position Rwanda as a services hub for east and central Africa, the Rwandan government committed to a large number of power purchase agreements with independent power producers to increase generation capacity.  With supply projected to exceed demand by approximately 200MW in 2024, the government is shifting its focus to increasing access, stimulating demand, and strengthening the transmission network.  By 2024, Rwanda plans to supply electricity to 100 percent of the population (52 percent through grid expansion and 48 percent through off-grid technologies).  It has also targeted making improvements to the grid network (including reducing system losses and improving reliability) and connecting with neighboring countries and importing and exporting power across borders.  Several U.S.-based or owned micro-hydro, off-grid solar, and mini-grid firms are active here; there are many opportunities for firms providing innovative and affordable transmission and distribution systems and equipment.  For example, a U.S. company is expanding its electric motorcycle taxi business to take advantage of plentiful power to replace the estimated 100,000 gas power motorcycle taxis in Rwanda.

Power Africa Support:  Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led initiative aiming to double access to electricity in Africa.  It offers private sector entities tools and resources to facilitate doing business in Africa’s power sector.  In 2016, the Electrify Africa Act institutionalized Power Africa.  Learn more about the full Power Africa toolbox or other opportunities offered by Power Africa.

Power Africa is supporting Rwanda’s energy sector development through a range of support mechanisms in cooperation with the Government of Rwanda, international finance institutions, development agencies, and private sector partners.  Power Africa provides technical assistance and capacity development to the utility and the regulator to ensure achievement of power sector milestones and strengthen operational capacity of the network.  This assistance includes training on IPP and PPP contracts, energy resource assessments, and tariff setting support.  Along with other donors, Power Africa advises the government on the design and implementation of energy policies and programs, particularly in the dynamic off-grid sector.  In collaboration with GIZ, DFID and the utility, Power Africa financed and designed an innovative results-based financing incentive program for off-grid solar home systems.  This program is to be scaled up by the Government of Rwanda to the entire country and will accelerate progress towards achieving 48 percent off-grid access by 2024 through private sector efforts.  It is also mobilizing off-grid finance through technical assistance and a loan guarantee agreement to local financial institutions.  The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) has provided grant funding to women-owned Rwandan off-grid businesses.  Power Africa has also launched the Women in Rwandan Energy (WIRE) Initiative, which seeks to increase the number and influence of women in the sector through training, apprenticeships, professional network opportunities and leadership development.  In moving beyond traditional grid access, support for off-grid electricity access has been a significant part of Power Africa’s engagement.  

For more information on energy in Rwanda, please visit the website of the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure, RDB, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Rwanda Energy Group, and Energy Private Developers.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Electricity access – on and off-grid (solar home systems and mini-grids)
  • Electricity transmission and distribution
  • Regional electricity system integration and power trading
  • Power sector policy development and planning
  • Institutional capacity building
  • Gender mainstreaming  

Opportunities

  • Power transmission and distribution equipment and services
  • Off-grid energy solutions, including rooftop solar products and solar powered irrigation
  • Technical assistance and services