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Rwanda’s Mission Impossible: Let’s do without aid

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Ngongo, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Ngongo

    Ngongo JF-Expert Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    Joined: Sep 20, 2008
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    No one has ever accused President Kagame or his administration of a lack of ambition.

    This is a government that has made it a habit to undertake seemingly impossible tasks and more or less succeed in most of them.

    Take the example of the almost quixotic goal of harnessing the methane gas in Lake Kivu for electricity.

    The gas has been bubbling up from the bottom of the lake for thousands of years and no one ever thought to use it for anything.

    Up to now, it actually has been something of a time bomb, given what happened in Cameroon in 1986, when Lake Nyos suddenly emitted a large cloud of carbon dioxide, killing 1,700 people.

    Enter the administration of Kagame, which instead saw an opportunity in a problem.

    The one beer brewing firm in the country, Bralirwa, had years ago figured out a way to run their Gisenyi factory with a generator running on the gas. The Rwandan president learned about it and the rest, as they say, is history.

    His government immediately commissioned a task force to look into the possibility of commercial generation of power from Kivu.

    There were many sceptics, both locally and internationally, who asserted that Rwanda was on a wild goose chase here; that since nowhere else in the world had commercial quantities of power ever been produced from methane, it wouldn’t happen in Rwanda either.

    But Kagame gave the task force no option of failure; if a brewing firm could produce a tiny quantity of power to run its factory, then a government could surely produce enough to satisfy at least some of its needs.

    International firms that claimed to have, experience in building power plants using non-conventional sources like hydro were contracted.

    One firm, the now infamous Dane Associates, which claimed to have a base in Scotland, turned out to be a briefcase company that had never built a single power plant anywhere.