Rwanda - Infrastructure, power, and communications



Rwanda has a fairly good road system with approximately 14,900 kilometers (9,258 miles) of roads. For the most part, the primary roads are well maintained. But feeder roads have deteriorated due to the war, excessive loads by heavy-duty trucks, and a 1997 flood. Currently, though, the World Bank is providing financing for road rehabilitation and new construction in certain parts of the country.

Rwanda lacks a railroad system, although it is linked to the Ugandan-Kenya railroad system by road. Since Rwanda is landlocked, most of its international trade is transported through the Kenyan port of Mombasa. Rwanda has several airports, but the main international airport is in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

The cost of electricity in Rwanda is exorbitant. Electricity in Rwanda costs 3 to 4 times that of neighboring countries. It therefore costs businesses more money to manufacture goods and as a result, the manufacturing sector has failed to attract significant foreign investment. To address this problem, the Rwandan water and energy utility company, Electrogaz, will be privately managed as early as 2001. Eventually, the Rwandan government intends to privatize Electrogaz. The Rwandan government, in conjunction with the private sector , is considering alternate sources of energy, such as harnessing the reserves of methane gas found in Lake Kivu.

Rwandatel, the government-owned telephone company, is the sole wire-based telephone company operating in Rwanda and is also the exclusive Internet service provider. There were only 15,000 main telephone lines in use in 1995, primarily in the capital area. To date, Internet service has proven unreliable and expensive. Thus, the Rwandan government intends to establish an agency that will privatize Rwandatel and liberalize the telecommunications sector. MTN Rwandacell provides mobile phone service to certain areas of the country. Additionally, 2 radio stations and 1 television station operate from Kigali.

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