According to the World Bank, Rwanda recorded an average annual growth rate of 7.5% between 2000 and 2018, largely due to the improvement of economic governance initiated by president Paul Kagame’s Vision 2020. Poverty and inequality have also fallen sharply and the country has ranked first in the World Bank’s 2018 Evaluation of Public Policies and Public Institutions in Africa. Growth is expected to be 7.8 percent in 2019, according to IMF projections. As stated by the economist An Ansoms “After the reconstruction phase started In the aftermath of the genocide, the government focused on the creation of an exemplary country from the year 2000. At that time, the official documents already evoked the will to develop an economy around a trilingual technological hub. in Rwanda.”
Rwanda is aiming to become the “African Singapore” by 2050; Nevertheless, the road is still long and Rwanda is facing many challenges such as the poverty level which is still high, 40% of the population amounting to 5 million Rwandan. Also, electricity access is only 30% according to IEA, however, the government is aiming for universal access by 2024. The installed capacity is 218MW of which 103MW is from thermal power, 98MW from hydroelectric and 12MW from solar. One of the solutions to achieve universal access is to introduce nuclear to the energy mix. Nuclear will not only be limited to providing electricity but would be used to improve agriculture and medicine.
Rwanda is looking seriously at the nuclear option, they have been cooperating with Rosatom to accompany them with the nuclearization process. Rwanda is aiming to acquire a nuclear research center within the 5 next years. As Mr. Robert Nyamvumba, the Energy Division Manager at the ministry of infrastructure said “Rwanda envisions having a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology in the near future… A time frame is being discussed, we are looking at 2023-2024. We are moving aggressively to see the center established in Bugesera industrial park.” The center will be the first of the Rwandan vision toward introducing nuclear energy. Mr. Nyamvumba will be attending Africa Nuclear Business Platform in Kenya to share about Rwanda’s nuclear energy program and discuss its infrastructure needs.
Rosatom will be providing training and helping with the communication by developing public acceptance as stated by a Rosatom official “Organization of personnel training programs for Rwandan nuclear infrastructure will be planned; development of close cooperation between profile educational institutions; organization of joint short-term programs; teachers’ training; development of specialized educational and scientific literature and exchange of students”
According to Mr. Nyamvumba, Rwanda has also secured technical support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and local experts are currently assessing how Rwanda can use nuclear technology to increase cassava and rice production. Rwandan are looking at nuclear as a technology that can boost the economy as a whole.
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