The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning Monday signed a financing agreement with the World Bank worth $100 million (Rwf93.1 billion) to support Rwanda’s COVID-19 response in energy.
The NEW TIMES reported that the latest financing signed on Monday is part of the World Bank’s existing three-year financing support towards the country’s energy sector, worth $375 million.
It comes in the form of budget support and is expected to enable the Government prepare a timely fiscal response to the economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, said in a statement that the finance will help Rwanda maintain reliable electricity which is critical post coronavirus.
“While the COVID-19 shock is expected to be transitory, the energy sector will be impacted by the crisis at a time when maintaining reliable electricity services will be critical to ensure public service delivery,” he said.
The financing is the last in a series of World Bank’s programmes, the first of which was approved in 2017 all of which are aimed at supporting the country to achieve universal access to energy by 2024.
Yasser El Gammal, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda asserted that the COVID-19 pandemic runs the risk of reversing some of Rwanda’s hard won socio-economic and health achievements.
“I am confident that with the high-level leadership, the resilience of the Rwandans, swift action taken by the government, and support from the World Bank and other development partners, Rwanda can bend the curve on this pandemic and get back on track,” he noted in a statement.
By the end of the operations, it is expected that Rwanda will have electrified over 61 per cent of its households, and narrowed the gap in electricity access between female and male headed households.
It is also expected that Rwanda will have modernised the operations of the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) as well as planning and decision-making processes.
The support also seeks to facilitate Rwanda to contain fiscal transfers to the sector at no more than 1.5 percent of GDP throughout the National Strategy for Transformation period.