The Tanzanian government has recently announced that approximately 5,900 out of 15,920 villages have been connected with electricity to the national grid as part of the Rural Electrification Densification Programme which seeks to stimulate economic growth, improve households’ income earnings and raise quality of life among the villages’ population.
The announcement was done by Tanzania’s Energy and Minerals Minister, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, whom in a recent meeting with lawmakers explained that the project is being implemented in three phases with the first one 100% completed, the second one at a completion rate of 75% according to schedule and the third phase to take off soon.
The second phase has not been implemented at a faster rate due to lack of funds since last year when it was undertook the country’s budget was reduced to address funds to the general election process.
However, the Rural Energy Fund, an arm of the Rural Energy Agency (REA) that provides support to qualified project developers, has so far allocated 75% of the TZS 877.3 billion assigned to the phase two, Prof. Muhongo added.
REA and stakeholders in the energy sector are currently reviewing the implementation of phase two to assess progress and find out whether the government would finish its implementation since both Tanzania’s government and international communities recognize rural electrification as a key factor for the development of communications, productive activities and public services.
The project is aligned with Tanzania’s government targets and REA’s mission to promote and facilitate availability of affordable modern energy services in rural areas of Tanzania mainland through the concept of densification, which consists on the extension of connections in areas that are close to an existing grid.
A recently completed National Electrification Program Prospectus by the Development Partners Group in Tanzania (TZDPG), identified densification as a low-cost solution to reach a large number of consumers of the national grid in a short period of time.
With the project, Tanzania expects to considerably raise the current 21% access to electricity in rural areas; however, a specific target percentage and due dates have not been released yet as the Rural Energy Master Plan is still in preparation phase.