REA Powers Rural Uganda to Boost Cross Border Trade, SMES

Ugandans on Monday celebrated the World Environment Day in Ibanda, viagra Western Uganda.

President Museveni, who was the guest of honour, warned against degradation of swamps and encouraged locals to plant trees on a large scale.

He further urged wananchi to protect lake shores.

Deforestation for firewood is considered one of the major causes of environmental degradation in Uganda.

In the rural areas of Uganda, lack of electricity compels locals to resort to the environment to obtain coal for their energy needs.

But the Rural Electrification Agency says it’s working hard to alter the situation.

REA is currently mandated to facilitate achievement of the Rural Electrification Program (RESP II) goal of achieving 26 percent rural electrification access by the year 2022, while maintaining the vision of universal access by 2040.

The body’s Executive Director, Godfrey Turyahikayo, says REA has constructed over 8,500kms of medium voltage power networks and over 5,500 kms of low voltage reticulation networks countrywide.

“This is almost double the size of the national grid network in 2001,” says Turyahikayo in a recent interview with ChimpReports.

But this is not enough as many parts of the country lack access to power that would catapult rural areas to economic growth.

Turyahikayo says over 2,100 kms of medium voltage lines and over 2,000kms of low voltage reticulation networks are currently under implementation and about 3,800 kms of medium voltage and 2,000kms of low voltage networks respectively are under procurement.

Government records indicate that it has committed to the rolling out of 10,000kms of both medium voltage and low voltage networks countrywide.

REA says it has facilitated the connection of over 434,000 Ugandans to electricity, either directly or indirectly through Umeme.

This represents an increment of over 6 percent from 1 percent access rate in 2001 to 7 percent to-date.

Government says it plans to cover over 1,300,000 connections but has so far made coverage of 104,000 connections under OBA project and has also put in place a number of initiatives.

Locals in rural areas of Mubende town want power not only for electricity but business including iron smelting.


The agency says it has also supported industrial growth, contributing to national economic growth through support and promotion of industries and agro-processing enterprises.

These include Butogota tea factories, PIBD factory in Bushenyi, Bukakata fish factories, Namenkhara vermiculite mine, Busia gold mine, Muko iron ore among others.

Turyahikayo further says through community initiated schemes, the agency has attracted and supported over 300 community-initiated businesses and enterprises through a cost sharing model.

This model allows communities and enterprises that are in need of electricity to cost share towards the cost of extending power.

The agency has equally extended electricity to the border towns of Nimule, Kamwezi, Cyanika and Mirama.

“We have also promoted tourism by extending power to Kalangala Island, Mweya Safari Lodge, and works are underway to supply Para Safari Lodge, Chobe resort, Kidepo National Park, Bwindi National Park, Lumino beach, Lake Bunyonyi and environs etc,” says Turyahikayo.

REA, according to officials has gone ahead to support development and utilisation of renewable energy technologies; including the facilitating of the design and evacuation of power generated from Mpanga Mini hydro power plant (18MW), Kakira Sugar Works (22MW), Buseruka Mini Hydro Power Plant (9MW), Ishasha (6.5MW), Nyagak (3.5MW), Kisiizi (300Kw) and Kagado Hospital Micro hydro Scheme (200 kW).

Considering the climate change faced by the earth, many have called for significant investment in clean energy.

We asked Turyahikayo if REA is taking adequate steps to embrace green technology.

He said REA has implemented the Photo Voltaic target Market Approach model of facilitation electricity supply through utilisation of solar energy.

“Through this programme, over 21,000 solar systems have been installed, targeting homesteads that are far away from the main grid,” said Turyahikayo.

“In addition, over 1,047 solar systems have been installed in health centers and schools countrywide.”

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