The African Development Bank (AfDB) has mobilised a $180 million loan towards expanding Rwanda’s power network and lighting up more households and businesses.

Under the project, some 77,470 households will be connected to the national power grid, helping reduce energy poverty levels in remote villages, especially in southern Rwanda.

Homes are not the only expected beneficiaries of the project dubbed transmission system reinforcement and last mile connectivity.

Also to be connected are 75 schools, eight health centers and 65 administration centers, while enabling evacuation of 125MW of hydropower. The construction works will create 455 permanent jobs and 760 part-time jobs, with 30% of the jobs earmarked for women.

“The rationale for the Bank’s intervention is to support the country’s pursuit of 100% access to electricity by 2024,” said AfDB country manager for Rwanda Aissa Tour-Sarr in a statement.

“The Project will contribute to enhancing the quality of life by facilitating improved education and health provision as well as 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.”

The $180 million loan facility comprises $140 million from the African Development Bank sovereign window and a $40 million co-financing from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF).

The project involves construction of over 1,000km of medium voltage and 3,300 km of low voltage lines to boost last mile access.

It also includes building 137km of high voltage lines and six substations to strengthen supply in commercial zones such as Kigali Hub and Nyarugege city, alongside upgrading and installation of about 1,200 distribution transformers.

This power connectivity project is a component of the $670 million multi-donor Rwanda Universal Energy Access program, which is being co-financed by the World Bank Group, OPEC Fund for International Development, Saudi Fund for Development, Agence française de développement, and the European Investment Bank.

As of March 2022, the African Development Bank has financed over $1.4 billion worth of projects in Rwanda, of which $498 million has been directed towards energy project projects.