Rwanda - Building code and regulations

Rwanda is facing an ongoing critical energy supply situation due to the growing demand for sustainable, reliable and affordable access to modern energy services to meet the economic and social needs of its population and business sectors.

Electricity demand in Rwanda has surpassed the available supply capacity for the last five years, and this inadequate electricity supply situation looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. Rwanda’s generation capacity is limited by supply, structural and financial constraints. The capital Kigali, where only 10% of the population lives, uses over 75% of Rwanda’s electricity supply.

Along with the rapid economic development of the country, the Government of Rwanda is also focusing on rapidly increasing power generation capacity in order to expand electricity access to the wider population, while also improving the quality and reducing the cost of energy services. However, the energy infrastructure development effort is hampered by limitations in Rwanda’s renewable energy options and by the on-going high price of oil on the international market.

Rwanda is already facing an electricity supply shortfall arising from a basic lack of electricity generation supply, as well as from its ambitious electricity access improvement targets. Rwanda’s economic and social development is now clearly being impeded by its electricity supply constraints. Some major factories in Rwanda are already reducing their economic activity levels due to the lack of available electricity supply capacity at certain times of the day.

In response to this challenge, the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) is implementing a medium to long-term strategic plan to increase power generation and promote the rational use of energy in general and electricity in particular. The promotion of energy efficiency (EE) by REG comes in response to the increasing demand for modern energy to meet Rwanda’s economic development and poverty reduction targets. To ensure consistency and success there was a need to set up Tools (regulations), the Government of Rwanda through:

  • MININFRA (Ministry of Infrastructure) established National Energy Policy, June 2004
  • MININFRA (Ministry of Infrastructure) established Electricity Law N°21/2011 of 23/06/2011
  • RHA (Rwanda Housing Authority) established "Rwanda Building Control Regulations" adopted, May  2012;
  • EWSA (Energy Water and Sanitation Authority) established "Energy Efficiency Building Code" adopted in March, 2014.
  • EWSA (Energy Water and Sanitation Authority) established "Energy Efficiency National Strategy" adopted in March, 2014

Rwanda is currently highly vulnerable to climate change as it is strongly reliant on rain-fed agriculture both for rural livelihoods and exports of tea and coffee. It also depends on hydropower for half of its electricity generation, a driver of economic growth. Rwanda has experienced a temperature increase of 1.4°C since 1970, higher than the global average, and can expect an increase in temperature of up to 2.5°C by the 2050s from 1970.

It is within this regards, the Government of Rwanda in partnership with the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment (SSEE) at the University of Oxford, and the donor institutes UK DFID-Rwanda and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) adopted "Rwanda National Strategy on Climate Change and Low Carbon Development" in November, 2011