Japan to Fund Rural Electrification in Uganda

President Yoweri Museveni commissioning electricity at Ngoma Headquarters in Nakaseke district

President Yoweri Museveni commissioning electricity at Ngoma Headquarters in Nakaseke district

KAMPALA-The Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) has signed a grant agreement with the government of Uganda to fund rural electrification projects in five districts of eastern Uganda.

The grant agreement worth $12.95m is expected to benefit close to 38,000 households in Namayingo, Bugiri, Mayuge, Busia and Iganga districts.

“The 33kV power line will cover 135 kilometres and serve three landing sites, 38 trading centres, 96 schools and 13 health centres,” explained the Japanese Ambassador, Kazuo Minagawa during the signing ceremony of the grant agreement at Lake Victoria, Serena Hotel.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Energy minister Irene Muloni and Rural Electrification Agency officials.

The Finance Minister, Maria Kiwanuka noted that when the construction process is completed they will connect 93 primary schools, 13 secondary schools, health centers and social amenities.

“I want to affirm that we shall fulfill our obligations under the agreements we have signed today and to ensure that the grant is properly and exclusively utilized for the intended purpose of the projects,” said Kiwanuka.

“During the course of the project implementation, we will undertake necessary consultations and furnish the government of Japan with the necessary and useful information and data. My office remains open to assist in any way in moving forward the projects to the conclusion,” she added.

Information obtained from Rural Electrification Agency indicates that the Government had requested the grant in 2009 to fund phase III of the rural electrification programme.

Before committing the resources, a technical team from Japan in 2011 conducted several studies to help them design the project plan and the estimated cost.

Uganda has embarked on extending electricity to rural areas. Recently power was extended to the remote north eastern part in Karamoja sub-region.

The extension of power to Karamoja which is rich in minerals like gold and limestone will boost the development in the area that has long been known for cattle rustling.

With only about 6 % of the total population having access to electricity, Uganda is among the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with the lowest electrification rates.

In rural areas, the rate drops to an alarming 2 % with northern and northeastern Uganda registering the lowest electrification rates.

Another estimated 1 % of the population uses fuel gensets, car batteries and solar PV systems to achieve a minimum level of electricity supply.

This remarkable low coverage and slow advancement of the national electricity grid is reported to be caused by the high cost of grid extension, sparse population, low ability to pay and remoteness of most rural villages.

This combined together with high population growth which creates higher demand in urban areas and the low power generation/distribution capacity implies that many parts of Uganda, especially in the north and northeastern will continue to have low electrification and access rates respectively.





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