New Brookfields Hotel, Freetown, Monday 3 October 2022 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has formally launched the National Electrification Plan Digital Platform at a high-level annual ceremony, to increase clean energy supply nationwide.
He urged the two-day roundtable deliberations to address the issues of supply, availability, reliability, affordability, financing, and investment in the energy sector, pointing to a few critical discussion points including financing of the energy sector; regional power sector integration; energy transition; the development of the Millennium Challenge Compact following a successful Threshold Programme; renewable energy mini-grids as an alternative approach to energy access; rural tariffs; and coordinated response to reliable and affordable energy access.
He also called on partners and sector players to urgently design the appropriate energy systems to address the country’s energy needs to further unlock its sustainable development potentials.
“I am honoured and delighted to welcome you to this Energy Sector Round Table. A hearty welcome to our development partners. Thank you for being a valued partner and contributing to Sierra Leone’s sustainable economic development and social progress.
“I am happy to see all the essential players in the energy sector present here this morning, and I can feel the energy in the room for fruitful deliberations. I value your impactful voices and presence at this Roundtable with the theme ‘Charting a Path to Sustainable Energy for All,” he said.
The President noted that energy was the engine that powered economies across the world, adding that the more energy economies had the more prosperous their people were. He further emphasised that the lack of energy was Africa’s most critical challenge, suffering from the world’s highest energy poverty.
“In Sierra Leone, access to electricity remains a challenge in terms of reliability and affordability. Our sustainable economic growth and prosperity depend on solving the energy crisis. It will require a more significant commitment than ever before, for our present and future depend on it.
“Despite rising global energy prices, we must continue our efforts to increase energy access to communities and productive sectors of our economy in the short, medium, and long term. We should also ensure that existing and future energy sources are reliable, efficient, affordable, and sustainable for our homes, businesses, industries, schools, and hospitals.
“I remain optimistic that despite global and local challenges, with close partnership with development partners and the private sector, our government has made significant strides in the energy sector,” he said.
Country Director for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, MCC, Steven Grudda, said, “The MCC is delighted to be part of this event to collaborate with you all on achieving the government of Sierra Leone’s goals on sustainable energy for all. We can only make it effective by putting in our efforts, so MCC is glad to participate here this morning. Our team is working closely with the Sierra Leone Compact Development Unit to design the compact and increase the availability of reliable and affordable electricity for all in Sierra Leone”.
“Following the successful implementation of a USD 44 million program, the MCC Board of Directors selected Sierra Leone to develop a compact in December 2020. Since then, the country team has been working closely to give the compact contract to be signed hopefully by late 2023. If achieved, this will be one of the fastest compact development processes in MCC’s history, which is a testament to the quality of work done and the strength of partnerships by MCC and the government of Sierra Leone,” he confirmed.
World Bank Country Director for Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia, Pierre Laporte, said, “I would like to thank your Excellency for extending this invitation to the World Bank Group and to congratulate your government for organising this energy sector event. Your presence at this event indicates the importance of the energy sector in the transformation of Sierra Leone and its people, and your participation demonstrates the commitment of your government to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity.
“Access to electricity is one of the drivers of self-inclusive and resilient economic development, access to clean and reliable energy is also an essential element for the United Nations agenda and an enabler for human capital development, which your government is championing. World Bank has been a long-standing partner that will continue to support your government’s agenda and improve its operational and commercial viability,” he said.