KAMPALA – The Chinese government has given Uganda a loan of $212m (Shs799.688 billion) to boost the rural electrification programme.
Under the rural electrification programme, Government’s plan is to increase the rural electrification access rate to 51 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040.
Speaking at the signing of loan agreement on Thursday, the Chinese ambassador to Uganda, Zheng Zhuqian said Uganda currently has a national electrification rate of about 15 per cent and a rural area of about 7 per cent, making it one of the countries with the lowest electricity rate in Africa.
“So the project of bridging the demand supply balance gap through the accelerated Rural Electrification Programme is a good example for China-Uganda Economic Cooperation.,” he said.
Ambassador Zheng said the project will cover the distribution network infrastructure construction of the government and the surrounding areas of 287 sub counties in Uganda.
“Through the rural construction of the project, the rural electrification coverage will be greatly improved, the rural electrification process will be accelerated, the local electrification level will be significantly improved, and the lives of local residents will also be improved,” he said.
The minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Matia Kasaija, admitted Uganda’s electricity rural network coverage is still low.
“This loan worth RMB Yuan 1,448,000,000 (equivalent to $ 212.669 Million) will enable Government to accelerate the access to clean and modern electricity while spurring growth in demand through the electrification of all unserved sub-counties nationwide,” he said.
Mr Kasaija added: “This financing is timely as it will enable Government of Uganda; Construct 3839 km of medium voltage networks, Construct 5921 km of low voltage networks, Install and commission 3403 distribution transfers, Install and connect 168,335 single phase consumers and 4,254 three phase consumers.”
Mr Kasaija said government has also set-out to extend clean and modern electricity to all citizens by 2040. To achieve this, it’s planned that at least 30 per cent of all citizens should have access to electricity by 2020.
Looking at what has already happened in the past years related to Chinese assistance to Uganda, Mr Kasaija appreciated the previous and ongoing technical and financial support from China to the Government of Uganda mainly in the Energy Sector specifically the financing to Karuma and Isimba Hydropower projects as well as the Associated Transmission Lines, the Works and Transport mainly the Kampala-Entebbe Airport Expressway and the Upgrading and Expansion of the Entebbe International Airport phase 1 project.