The Government of Sierra Leone, with financial support from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and UK Aid, also known as Department for International Development (DfID), launched on Monday, February 13, 2017 the rehabilitation and extension of the Bo-Kenema Electricity Distribution System in Sierra Leone.
In line with the Government’s Post Ebola Recovery Program, which identified the project as a key deliverable, in the efforts to improve citizen access to energy services. The project will upgrade and construct a 33-kilovolt electricity line between Bo and Kenema. The project will also construct new primary substations to enhance the reliability and sustainability of electricity supply between the two cities. For the first time, 37,000 households located in Bo, Kenema and villages along the route of the distribution line, will benefit from a supply of electricity through the installation of pre-paid electricity meters connecting them to the line. The 17,500 households already connected will benefit from a more reliable supply of electricity. The project will also provide technical training for staff at the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) and other key stakeholders.
Unreliable energy services in urban areas, and limited energy services in rural areas, were cited as a major obstacle to a rapid response during the Ebola crisis. Improved energy services will not only strengthen Sierra Leone’s resilience to future outbreaks, but support economic growth and infrastructure development across the country.
While thanking its co-funding partners, the Minister of Energy, Henry Macauley, said,
“Today marks a key milestone in Government of Sierra Leone’s commitment to provide affordable and reliable access to electricity across the country under the Agenda for Prosperity launched by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. The Bo-Kenema rehabilitation project is an evidence of the fruitful cooperation between the Ministry of Energy, the African Development Bank and the UK Department for International Development. All parties are committed to a swift implementation that will lay the foundations for the economic rebirth of Bo and Kenema as we share the conviction electricity supply to small and medium enterprises and households is key to a sustainable development.”
The project directly contributes to the AfDB’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to secure universal energy access on the continent by 2025 and support efforts to mitigate climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the use of diesel and kerosene for lighting. The AfDB will invest US $13 million and oversee project delivery.
“AfDB is committed to working with partners to catalyse economic development in post-conflict countries, such as Sierra Leone through projects that open up new markets and provide opportunities for local communities. The Bo-Kenema project is also exemplary in that the Bank was able to mobilize significant co-financing for the project in line with the Bank’s new business model to attract additional capital to the continent,” said Amadou Hott, AfDB’s Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.
Speaking at the launch, Guy Warrington, British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, said, “I am proud that UK Aid is able to support efforts to improve access to energy as part of our £240-million commitment to the Ebola recovery effort. The UK Government is a long-term supporter of the Government of Sierra Leone’s efforts to improve energy access across the country, and will invest £31.5 million (US $40 million) in the rehabilitation and extension of the Bo-Kenema Electricity Distribution System. We are also investing in off-grid electricity systems for rural communities and promoting household solar systems under the UK’s Energy Africa compact, which was signed with Government of Sierra Leone in May 2016.”