Kenya Advances Rural Electricity Access with $205M LMCP Investment

Last Mile Connectivity Project Enters Fourth Phase, Boosts Rural Electrification

The Last Mile Connectivity Project (LMCP), an endeavor to greatly increase the availability of power in rural and peri-urban regions in Kenya, is about to enter its fourth phase. President William Ruto announced the significant investment of KSh 27 billion (about $205.3 million) for this phase during a contract signing ceremony held at State House in Nairobi. The European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency, and the European Union collaborated to provide the funds, which are intended to support the government’s 2030 goal of ensuring universal access to electricity.

The main objective of the 2015-launched LMCP is to improve social and economic development in Kenya’s underserved areas by supplying them with dependable, reasonably priced power. Over a million homes have been effectively connected to the the electrical grid, transforming the lives of millions of Kenyans.

The latest funding will facilitate the installation of 940 new transformers and the enhancement of 3,375 existing transformers. Additionally, the project will oversee the construction of associated power lines across 32 counties. Scheduled to commence in November, this phase also includes plans to integrate fiber optic cables within the power lines to boost internet connectivity, aligning with Kenya’s digital transformation goals in government services, e-commerce, e-learning, and e-health.

During the announcement, President Ruto highlighted the dual significance of the internet and electricity in today’s digital age, stating, “We are moving government services to the digital space, and ICT hubs are coming up across the country… Therefore, the internet is as important as electricity.”

The impact of the LMCP extends beyond mere infrastructure development. According to Ruto, since its inception, the project has increased Kenya’s electricity access rate from 27% in 2013 to over 76% today, connecting approximately 9.6 million households. This surge in connectivity has spurred economic activity, particularly in rural areas where the availability of reliable power has allowed businesses to thrive, contributing significantly to the nation’s GDP and creating numerous job opportunities.

Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), often referred to as the backbone of Kenya’s economy, have particularly benefited. Reliable electricity has enabled these businesses to operate more efficiently and expand their market reach. The agricultural sector has also seen transformative benefits, with electricity powering irrigation systems and agro-processing units, thereby boosting productivity and ensuring food security.

Moreover, the enhanced electricity supply has improved educational opportunities by facilitating digital learning platforms and resources, and it has also supported the healthcare sector by enabling the operation of medical equipment and the storage of essential medicines. President Ruto also mentioned another project in the pipeline, funded by the Africa Development Bank and Saudi Arabia, which involves a KSh 22 billion (around $167.3 million) investment to connect an additional 270,000 customers. This initiative highlights Kenya’s ongoing commitment to enhancing its infrastructure and ensuring that the benefits of development reach all corners of the society.

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