Kigali, 20 May 2014

President Kagame today received visiting UNSG Special Representative and Chief Executive for Sustainable Energy for All, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella who is in the country to launch the Africa Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, on behalf of the UN Secretary General.

Speaking to the Press after the meeting, Kandeh Yumkella said:

“I thanked the President and the Government on behalf of the Secretary General for hosting the launch of the Africa Decade for Sustainable Energy for All. The few trips we have been here, we have been able to see for ourselves the progress Rwanda is making to promote rural electrification and expand power generation. We will be hosting in New York on behalf of the Secretary General the first forum of Sustainable Energy for all Forum, and we want to showcase Rwanda as a success story in Africa for integrating energy transformation as part of the national development strategy.”

The UNSG Representative said the discussions with the President also focused on regional energy markets integration, where a group of African leaders would be initiated to be champions of integrating power markets in Africa:

“You can’t have one power market; you have to have sub regional power markets built around the power poles and regional economic communities. I requested the President to be part of that leadership group to which he is willing because he strongly believes that the future of energy systems in Africa will be when we integrate our energy resources; those with oil and gas integrating with those with hydropower and countries trading energy and Rwanda is advanced in dealing with its neighbours.”

He said President Kagame has been invited to a side event in September during the UN General Assembly on energy where there could be a possibility of Rwanda and the European Union signing a program to support power generation in Rwanda, based on what Rwanda has done to support the power sector.

“Given that Rwanda is the only country in Africa that has made significant progress on women political and economic empowerment, President Kagame has also been requested to sit on a panel in Washington with President Obama to showcase what Rwanda has done. Just like the Nordic countries, Rwanda has more women Parliamentarians and more women leaders in key positions. It’s because of this success that Rwanda is being called upon to showcase to the rest of Africa what empowerment means.”

The Minister of Infrastructure, Silas Rwakabamba said Rwanda’s strategy is to humanize energy, to go beyond just running machines, lighting and cooking.

“When we show the human face of energy, it makes a difference. When we say sustainable energy for all, we want to increase access, and access means you generate more and transmit more and connect people on the grid and offer off grid solutions. We have got this Northern corridor project where we are working to integrate energy with our neighbours to make energy affordable.”