The US$203 million Rural Electrification Project: Helping the Government of Liberia to Help Ourselves
A US$203m loan agreement to electrify 28 localities in Liberia, through the construction of four sub-power stations along the first corridors of the country’s growth triangle- the Nimba, Bassa to Montserrado route, was recently signed between the Liberia and African Development Bank or AfDB.
The Cote d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) Electricity Interconnection Project- already ratified by the Liberian Legislature and expected to begin 2014, is part of the wider West Africa Power Pool project, seeking to connect the national grids of the four countries through the construction of a 1,357-km-long double circuit high voltage (225 kV) line, costing US $ 203 million for the Liberia component.
Liberia’s Finance Minister Amara Konneh, at the signing ceremony in Monrovia, said the construction of this line was part of the backbone of the Mano River Union countries and the priority projects of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Master Plan, further disclosing that the project would help establish a dynamic electric power market in the West African sub-region and secure power supply for participating countries with a comparative advantage in importing power rather than producing it at high costs using their national systems.
According to Konneh Government was poised to generate 10 MW from the cross border project supported by the European Commission or EC and 20 MW from the CSLG interconnection rural electrification project, emphasizing that the rural electrification is expected to cost USD $35m, with $32.5M in ADF Loan at 75% rate of interest over a 40 year maturity and 10 year grace period and implemented by the Liberia Electricity Corporation under the supervision of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, while the Country Representative of the AfDB, Dr. Margaret Kilo noted that the project would help increase the energy access rate from 2% in 2012 to 6% in 2016.
Dr. Kilo said the project was approved by the board of the African Development Bank on November 6th, covering all four Mano River Union countries, with the total project amounting to UA 331.51 million (approximately US$ 510 million) with UA 128.15million (approximately US$197million) financed by the African Development Bank. Liberia’s allocation from the ADB is UA26.06 million (approximately US $40million).
As the Government of Liberia strives to ensure that life becomes very bearable for its i citizens through this project, it is incumbent upon us all to consider such rural electrification project as ours. This means we must establish total ownership over it, utilizing and protecting it the best way possible for our own comfort.
As we embrace this project, it must be with open minds, especially when it comes to its security-i.e., how we care for it-how we use it will go a long way in determining whether or not we are capable of helping the government to help ourselves by protecting the project and avoiding its destruction (cable theft) and power theft- that’s the responsibility we have as beneficiaries of such landmark project.