Tanzania’s rural electrification drive gets major boost

11 October 2014, Dar es Salaam – FOUR local firms have received 400,000 U$ (over 600m/-) grants from United States African Development Foundation to help enhance rural electrification.

At a presentation ceremony held in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday and presided over by Energy and Minerals Minister, Professor Sospeter Muhongo and USADF President and Chief Executive Officer, Shari Berenbach, the four local firms were among 60 applicants of a Power Africa Off-grid Energy Challenge: Round II Winners.

Rural electrification in Tanzania“I congratulate our four local companies and urge them to use the grant fruitfully,” said Prof Muhongo who paid tribute to US based technology giant, General Electric Inc and United States Agency for International Development for supporting the initiative. Prof Muhongo said the government has given priority to rural electrification to tame poverty which is mainly caused by lack of energy.

“In that respect we commend GE Africa, USAID and USADF for supporting us in this endeavour,” the Minister noted affirming that the government’s goal is to ensure that more rural people are connected to the national grid.

The four local winning companies include Jamii Power Limited, L’s Solution Limited, Lung’ali Natural Resources Company Limited and Space Engineering. USADF chief, Ms Berenbach said over 300 entries from six African countries applied for the annual grant. “The purpose of the challenge is to make available small business proposals of innovative ideas for rural electrification.

The idea is to support these entrepreneurs with seed funding so that they can later get commercial funding,” said Berenbach. She said the grants are mainly focused on renewable energy projects targeting rural populations in six African countries to assist provide power supply to such groups of productive people.

“This is a one off grant which we hope will assist these entrepreneurs break into the commercial power generation market,” the USADF chief noted. The six African countries include Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya and Nigeria.

According to details provided by the four local companies; Jamii Power will expand its 11 kilowatts generation system to 33kW while Space Engineering will develop a hybrid solar biomass power plant to generate and distribute 40kW of electricity to 592 households.

Lung’ali Natural Resources will develop a small hydro-power system to supply power to more than 242 households and also provide loans while L’s Solution will build a 12 kW solar powered mini grid to connect 120 households, 10 businesses, three health centres and four schools to electric supply.
*Finnigan Wa Simbeye – Tanzania Daily News

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