Tanzania to complete rural electrification by June 2024

What you need to know:

  • The government, in collaboration with the World Bank, is financing this monumental project with a staggering amount of Sh1.58 trillion.

Dar es Salaam.  The Rural Energy Agency (REA) announced on Thursday that all 12,318 villages across the country will be electrified by June 2024, marking the culmination of a journey that began three decades ago.

This achievement, a year ahead of the original 2025 plan, is poised to provide over 70 percent of the rural population with access to electricity.

Speaking at a news conference in Dar es Salaam, acting director of REA, Mr. Johnes Olotu, expressed the agency's commitment to completing the electrification project ahead of schedule.

"The implementation of the project has currently reached an average of 73 percent, and we are confident that all villages will be fully electrified by June 2024," he stated.

The ambitious third phase of Round II (REA III Round II) involves electrifying the remaining 4,071 villages out of the 12,318.

The strategy encompasses the construction of 23,526 kilometres of medium-voltage power lines, 12,159 kilometres of low-voltage power lines, the installation of 4,071 generators, and connecting approximately 258,660 customers.

The government, in collaboration with the World Bank, is financing this monumental project with a staggering amount of Sh1.58 trillion.

Mr. Olotu shed light on the current progress, stating, "This project, initially expected to be completed in December 2023 for 32 contracts and June 2024 for seven contracts, is moving ahead swiftly, and we anticipate its successful conclusion."

However, following the electrification of all villages, the agency is gearing up to extend electricity infrastructure to 36,101 hamlets not covered by the initial project.

The identified scope for supplying electricity to all hamlets in mainland Tanzania reveals that 36,101 out of the total 64,760 hamlets lack electricity infrastructure, requiring an estimated Sh6.7 trillion.

To fund this expansion, the government secured a low-cost loan of Sh100 billion from the IMF through the Extended Credit Facility window.

This financial injection will kickstart the implementation of the project in 654 hamlets in the Songwe and Kigoma regions, with the goal of reaching all 64,760 hamlets by 2030.

As of June 2023, ongoing electricity projects have already provided electricity to 10,127 hamlets (82 percent), and an additional 2,191 villages are slated to receive electricity between December 2023 and June 2024.

REA's Director of Renewable and Alternative Energy Technologies, Ms. Andrea Mwijage, emphasised the impact of various rural energy projects.

"In the 15 years since REA was established in 2005, 70 percent of the 40 million Tanzanians living in rural areas now have access to electricity, according to REA and the Tanzania Economic Survey of 2022," she said.

Highlighting the regional aspect, Ms. Mwijage shared plans for electrifying the 196 islands in mainland Tanzania, underscoring the involvement of the private sector.

"The project is being implemented by the private sector, where 28 islands will be provided with electricity. Feasibility studies, business plans, and environmental impact certificates are ongoing for the seamless implementation of the project."

Ms. Mwijage assured that efforts were underway to harness renewable energy sources to electrify all 196 islands currently off the national grid.

"The government, through REA, has identified three developers for solar power distribution projects in 28 islands, connecting 9,515 customers at a cost of Sh11.18 billion in the regions of Kegara, Mwanza, Mara, and Lindi," she affirmed.