Hungary Agrees to Provide Nuclear Energy Training for Rwanda

Hungarian and Rwandan Presidents

During a state visit to Rwanda on Sunday, Hungarian President Katalin Novak signed an agreement allowing Rwandan nuclear energy technicians to receive training from Hungarian universities.

After meeting with Novak, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said of the agreement:

So far 41 Rwandans have received scholarships to study in Hungary universities, and today we have agreed to extend this programme. We appreciate that. We’ll also be working with Hungary to train Rwandans in the field of nuclear energy, an important component of our future energy plants.

Kagame said in April that Rwanda is hoping to construct a series of modular nuclear reactors to address the chronic shortage of electricity in Africa. About 600 million Africans lack access to dependable electric power, and demand is steadily increasing as the continent develops more heavy industry.

Modular reactors are small nuclear power plants that can be built more quickly and with less capital outlay than traditional designs. Modular reactors generate less than 300 megawatts of power but can be built closer to where electricity is needed, reducing the need for far-flung electrical grids. 

Hungary began looking into modular reactor technology after long delays in expansion plans for its Russian-built Paks 2 nuclear plant. Hungarian Energy Minister Csaba Lantos said last month that the proposed modular reactor might be purchased from Russia as well.

Kagame also thanked Novak for extending a $52 million loan to upgrade the Karenge water treatment plant, which was previously upgraded with Hungarian loans in late 2021. 

Kagame said Rwanda hopes to “benefit from Hungary’s expertise in water management” during the next round of revisions, which will reportedly include a more advanced water supply network. The capacity of the water treatment plant is set to be increased from 15,000 cubic meters per day to 36,000, using technology developed in Hungary.

Novak, who is the first Hungarian president to visit Rwanda, said:

Hungary is bigger in size, but our population is almost similar. We need to focus on how we cooperate based on a mutual respect because that is what we can offer as Hungarians, the respect for you, for your way of life, for your people and for your nation; and that is what we expect also from our allies.

“We spoke about the wars happening in our neighboring countries and of course for us Hungarians, the war in our direct neighborhood in Ukraine, it is very alarming. This meeting just offered us a chance to speak about the importance of peace,” she said of her meeting with Kagame.

The two leaders announced that Rwanda plans to open a diplomatic office in Budapest. Hungary recently opened a consulate focused on trade and industrial cooperation in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.


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