AfDB Approves Loan for Rwanda’s Last Mile Connectivity Project

US$180 million granted to improve electricity access in Rwanda.

By Chriselle Moraes on
7th July 2022

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved two loans for US$180 million. The bank’s sovereign window set aside US$140 million, while US$40 million came from co-financing from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) along with ADF resources.

This grant approval comes on the heels of a similar grant for US$84.2 million approved on 26 May 2021.  It comprised a loan of US$36.77 million from the Bank Group’s African Development Fund and a US$47.45 million ADF grant.

The approved funding will co-finance a major energy project – The Rwanda Transmission System Reinforcement and Last Mile Connectivity Project. The main aim of this project is to strengthen Rwanda’s transmission network and improve access to electricity supply for the Rwandan people, specifically for regional industrial parks, Bugesera Airport and other productive use centres.

The project will involve the construction of 1,000-kilometre medium voltage and 3,300-kilometre low voltage lines, which will boost last-mile access. It will also include the construction of 137 kilometres of high voltage power lines and six substations, which will strengthen the national electricity grid. This would include the installation or upgrading of over 1,200 distribution transformers and related infrastructure.


The project will provide first-time electricity access to 77,470 households and ensure connectivity to 75 schools, eight health centres and 65 administrative centres. It will also allow for the evacuation of 125 megawatts of clean energy from hydropower plants, and create 455 permanent and 760 part-time jobs.  

The grid access component of the project will enable the electrification of households in southern Rwanda, which still have poor connectivity rates of below 34%. Main targeted cities will be Gisagara, Huye, Nyamagabe, Nyanza, Nyaruguru, and Ruhango. The grid access is expected to strengthen connectivity in industrial zones with rising commercial activity, such as Nyarugege city, Nyamata, and Kigali Hub.

“The rationale for the Bank’s intervention is to support the country’s pursuit of 100% access to electricity by 2024. The project will contribute to enhancing quality of life by facilitating improved education and health provision and promoting private sector growth. Hence contributing to Rwanda’s social and economic transformation agenda, which aims to transition Rwanda from a developing country to a middle-income country by 2035,” said Aissa Tour-Sarr, the African Development Bank’s Country Manager in Rwanda.

Dr Kevin Kariuki, AfDB Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth, spoke on the bank's contribution to Rwanda’s Transmission Reinforcement and Last Mile Connectivity project. He emphasized that this loan would help address energy needs and align closely with the banks’ High Five Priorities. 

The project is one component of the Rwanda Universal Energy Access programme (RUEAP). The large, multi-donor energy sector investment financing program supports the Rwandan government’s energy access objectives during the National Strategy for Transformation. 

The World Bank Group, OPEC Fund for International Development, Saudi Fund for Development, Agence Française de Développement, and the European Investment Bank co-financed the RUEAP. It seeks to achieve universal electricity access by 2024 and aligns with Rwanda’s long-term development framework, Vision 2050.

Top Photo: Electric Power Lines - Stock Image (Michael Turner | Dreamstime)

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