By Beth Nyaga
Number of Kenyans connected to the electricity has nearly tripled over the last four years to 33 million.
This has in turn spurred economic activities in satellite towns as well as improved living conditions.
Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat has said this is arguably Kenya’s fastest connection rate in 50 years since 2013 when only 12.3 million people were connected to the grid.
The improved connectivity that is powered by the government’s last mile electricity connectivity drive has since opened up sleepy towns and converted them into sustainable economic hubs that are helping to improve living conditions for most Kenyans.
“More satellite towns have sprung up to spark economic activities in most parts of the country. This should result in significant poverty reduction and improved inclusive growth,” said Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Director General, Dr. Julius Muia.
Official government statistics shows that 20.2 million more Kenyans have benefited from electricity over the last four years pushing current electricity access rate to 65% from 27% in 2013.
“The unprecedented number of new electricity connections makes Kenya a good benchmarking hub for other economies in the East African region on how to boost socio-economic growth in sleepy towns,” Said Dr. Muia.
Government through support from International lenders has financed the last mile connectivity to the tune of Ksh 96 Billion in line with Vision 2030’s aim of achieving universal access to electricity by 2022.
To access electricity under the last mile connectivity initiative, Kenyans are required to pay a negotiated rate of Ksh 15,000; a large reduction from the previous rate of Ksh 35,000.
The lower and more affordable charge is helping the government achieve its target to reach 70 percent of households across the country by end of 2017.
Earlier in March, National Treasury signed a KSh20 billion financial package with European Investment Bank, European Union and French government for completion of the third phase of the Last Mile Connectivity project.