Burundi receives US $100m grant for rural electrification

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The government of Burundi has received US $100m grant from the International Development Association (IDA), a subsidiary of the World Bank to finance rural electrification in the country.

According to IDA, the government is banking on n off-grid solar systems to accelerate the electrification of the country’s rural areas. As part of this effort, it has launched the Solar Energy Project for Rural Communities, better known as Soleil or Nyakiriza (Sun or Nyakiriza (enlighten me) in Kirundi, the most widely spoken language in Burundi.

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Rural electrification

The project will include installation of mini solar hybrid grids that will be be equipped with battery storage systems and localized generators. So far, at least 150 host sites have already been identified across the country.

This is the second grant issued by IDA totaling US $160m. The total off-grid solar systems installed under the project will generate 17 MW. The government estimates that the production of each kilowatt will require an investment of US $2,200, compared to the current price of mini-grids in the East African sub-region.

More than 9000 homes will be electrified upon completion of the project. 400 health centres will be equipped with the off-grid solar systems and atleast 400 primary schools will also be electrified using the solar-powered mini-grids.

Burundi has only 40MW of electrical power at a 10% electrification rate. The average per capita electricity consumption of the East African country is among the lowest on the continent at 23 kWh/year, compared to an African average of 150 kWh/year.