Rwanda’s Ambitious Energy Goals

The population of the Republic of Rwanda is approximately 13.04 million people[1]. In 2018, only 34.7% of the people in this east-central African country have access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Rwanda’s economy was ranked 143rd in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and the export of coffee, tea, and tin ore.

In 2016, Rwanda signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the business-as-usual path by 2030. In 2020, Rwanda announced a new climate action policy[5], committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 38% compared to business-as-usual by 2030.

In 2017, Rwanda had only 216 MW of installed power generation capacity[6], which was fueled by renewable energy (58.3%), petroleum (27.8%), and natural gas (13.9%). Hydropower, solar, and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy in Rwanda.

In 2018, the Rwandan government signed an agreement with multinational consortium, Goldsol II to build a 10 MW solar project, located approximately 25 miles east of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2020.

In September 2020, Rwanda received U.S. $150 million from the World Bank to implement the government’s Energy Access and Quality Improvement Project (EAQIP). The World Bank funding consists of a $75 million grant and a $75 million loan.

The EAQIP is designed to increase access to electricity by expanding the power grid and deploying off-grid solar systems in rural areas. The World Bank funding will also restore the generating capacity of existing hydropower plants. Increasing Rwanda’s access to electricity will reduce the country’s use of polluting cooking fuel.

The Rwandan government has launched an ambitious plan to provide universal access to electricity by 2024. The country does have significant renewable energy resources, which could meet current and future power requirements. However, Rwanda will require additional financial assistance, if it going to develop its hydropower, solar, and wind potential, expand the power grid, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”



[1] Rwanda Population (2020) –  October 19, 2020

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Rwanda

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Environment, May 25, 2020.

[6] Frontiers In Energy Research, “The State of the Power Sector in Rwanda,” July 20, 2018

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