By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame closed the common border with Uganda on February 27, 2019. Rwandans can’t cross the border into Uganda or enter Kenya through Uganda. Meanwhile, Ugandan goods can’t enter Rwanda. Kagame mistakenly fantasizes that he is punishing Uganda. Evidently, Kagame doesn’t realize Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni will have the last laugh. I am not talking about Uganda finding other markets — I am talking about Rwanda’s planned energy imports from Ethiopia.
Here is a nightmare scenario for Kagame. Part of his plan to achieve 100% electricity access by 2024 is to import 400 Megawatts from Ethiopia. This will require the completion of a transmission line that connects Ethiopia to Rwanda. However, this cannot materialize without Rwanda’s neighbors getting involved. Yohannes Hailu, an economic affairs officer and energy expert at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa put it best as cited by The East African:
”For Rwanda to import energy from Ethiopia, it will also require a regional engagement, particularly with Uganda and Kenya, and joint regional energy sector planning, along with investment in a highly efficient grid infrastructure.”
In other words, the same border that Kagame locked up is the very route through which the imported energy from Ethiopia would enter Rwanda. That is why Museveni will have the last laugh.