More and more rural businesses across Rwanda will be able to access electricity and boost their performance through the Renewable Energy Fund project.
The fund seeks to make it affordable to scale up standalone home systems and renewable energy-based mini-grids in the country.
The government of Rwanda and the International Development Agency (IDA) have signed a $48.94 million financing deal which will aid in increasing access to electricity in the country.
This deal is part of facilitation of the National Strategy for Transformation from 2017 up to 2024.
The fund is expected to facilitate the deployment of an estimated 445,000 off-grid connections and benefit 1.8million people and 52% of these are women.
Development Bank of Rwanda will host the fund because it was found to have adequate capacity and internal systems to efficiently manage the project money provided by the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP).
Funds will be channeled through qualified SACCOs, commercial and Microfinance banks to provide affordable loans to their customers including households, microenterprises and several SMEs.
About 30 SACCOs have been fronted and so far 20 of them have been qualified.
According to a statement issued by BRD, the Fund will also provide necessary technical assistance and capacity building to BRD and participating financial institutions and other players engaged in off-grid electrification.
Meanwhile, systems supported by this facility will be required to be at least Tier 1 that provides a basic service level such as lighting , radio and cell phone charging and meet predetermined quality standards aligned with International Electro technical Commission Technical Specifications.
The targeted beneficiaries of this fund are Rwandan households and businesses that will gain access to off-grid electricity services through solar systems or mini-grids; this is aimed at replacing use of diesel, dry cell batteries and kerosene.