FACT CHECK: Senator Ben Murray-Bruce goofed on Rwanda’s Solar energy
Claims: Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, senator representing Bayelsa East Constituency recently took to his Twitter page to claim that:
- Rwanda has e-bikes that are charged by solar panels on the streets.
- Rwanda gets its electricity from 70% renewable energy.
CONCLUSION: For CLAIM 1, it is MOSTLY FALSE with a FALSE IMAGE; for CLAIM 2, it is totally FALSE.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, senator representing Bayelsa East Constituency on May 18 in a series of tweets about renewable energy, claimed that Rwanda is making waves in renewable energy and that the country now has e-bikes that are charged by solar panels on the street, illustrating with a picture, Murray-Bruce tweeted that:
“This picture is not from Europe or America. This is Rwanda. They have e-bikes in the street that you locate with a mobile app. You use them abs return them. They are charged by solar panels. They are saving Rwandans both time and money. Rwanda is becoming a small giant of Africa.
This picture is not from Europe or America. This is Rwanda. They have e-bikes in the street that you locate with a mobile app. You use them abs return them. They are charged by solar panels. They are saving Rwandans both time and money. Rwanda is becoming a small giant of Africa. pic.twitter.com/QhLWHdvVzJ
— Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce) May 16, 2019
He further twitted quoting @VolkswagenSA that:
A quote from @VolkswagenSA: “We did a grid check in Rwanda together with GRZ and Siemens last year and they are ready. They already get their electricity from 70% renewable energy and that will change to 100% in the next 10 years.”
Imagine! Rwanda is “ready” and Nigeria is not?
A quote from @VolkswagenSA:
“We did a grid check in Rwanda together with GRZ and Siemens last year and they are ready. They already get their electricity from 70% renewable energy and that will change to 100% in the next 10 years.”
Imagine! Rwanda is “ready” and Nigeria is not?
— Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce) May 17, 2019
A message sent to Ben Murray-Bruce to clarify the claims was left unanswered.
VERIFYING THE CLAIMS
CLAIM 1: The picture used is false and the electric bike is yet to launch in Rwanda
Verification of the picture using Google reverse image search and Tineye reverse image search revealed that the picture of the solar panels tweeted by Sen Murray Bruce cannot be found in Rwanda but in North America, California to be precise.
A Rwandan journalist based in Kigali, Jonathan Bavuganeza, also disclosed to Tribune Online that such solar panels don’t exist on Rwanda streets.
Tribune Online gathered that although, Senator Ben Murray Bruce goofed about the picture he used in his tweet but the plan for Rwanda to enter the electric bike and scooter service is on top gear
Gura, a transportation company owned by a Nigerian, Tony Adesina, when contacted by Tribune Online said, “the process to launch electric bikes and scooter services in Rwanda is still in the formative stage.”
Although, Tosin Adesina, the Founder and CEO of Gura in an interview with Rwandadailybusiness in March, disclosed that the Electric Bike Ride Sharing will be launched in May but findings revealed that Gura is yet to kick-off in Rwanda but still at the testing stage.
Ike Erhabor, the President board of Gura team, in a telephone conversation with Tribune Online, disclosed that Gura is yet to officially launch in Rwanda but will kick off in a few weeks time after the completion of the test and other processes to kickoff
According to the information gathered from Gura, the mission of the company is to reduce carbon emission, improve air quality, and ease congestion in cities by providing an alternative means of green transportation (Green e-mobility) using advanced-innovative technology for a cleaner environment.
CLAIM 2: Rwanda doesn’t get 70% of electricity from renewable energy
The tweet from Senator Ben Murray-bruce quoting @VolkswagenSA is not traceable to the quoted Twitter account of the company, as such tweet cannot be found on the said Twitter page.
According to the World Development Indicators on Electricity production, sources and access by Worldbank, Denmark, the country with the highest percentage of renewable energy generates just 65% electricity renewably, while Kenya, the African country with the highest percentage of renewable energy generates 48.3% electricity renewably.
However, the Worldbank indicator couldn’t quantify the percentage of electricity being generated from renewable energy in Rwanda but says that 22.8% of the total population of Rwanda have access to electricity.
Also, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) fact sheet on Rwanda’s power, just 30% of the country’s population has access to electricity, unlike in Nigeria where USAID said 42% of the country’s population has access to electricity.
Although, the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure that is being overseen by Hon Claver Gatete, when contacted by Tribune Online, promised to collate the information on the country’s energy sector, particularly on the renewable energy and send when ready but the information gathered from the Ministry’s website revealed that Rwanda only generates 5% electricity from solar, which is the only major source of renewable energy in the country.
According to Collins English Dictionary, renewable energy is energy from energy sources that are derived from the sun, wind, or other natural processes, and that is always available.
From the above context, it is easy to conclude that Rwanda only generates 5% of her electricity from renewable energy
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce’s tweet on Rwanda’s energy is a clear case of misleading content and it is not true.