Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 October 2020:
After the failure of successive governments of Sierra Leone to convince the US government funded Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to include Sierra Leone in their short list of African countries that have received hundreds of millions of dollars in grant-aid to help pay for large-scale development projects, last Friday the Chief Executive Officer of the MCC – Sean Cairncross, arrived in Freetown on a two-day visit.
Sean Cairncross met with president Julius Maada Bio at State House where they discussed the country’s progress in delivering the MCC funded $44.4 million threshold programme, which is aimed at improving the financial viability of water and electricity sectors in Sierra Leone.
The independent US Government agency works to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to poor countries like Sierra Leone that meet rigorous standards for good governance, from fighting corruption to respecting democratic rights.
Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who is supervising the activities of the MCC in the country, said since 2018 the threshold programme has been successfully implemented.
Dr Jalloh confirmed that the country has made good progress in meeting the criteria laid down in the MCC scorecard, adding that the government has built a strong regulatory framework around the energy and water sector.
“We have made immense gains in the implementation of the threshold program and the score card,” he said.
Mr Cairncross said that he appreciates the progress being made in the implementation of the MCC programme.
“Your government has done an impressive job on our scorecard. The work done on people trafficking and other areas are impressive. This is the commitment that we want to see at the MCC. I want to see progress made in our programmes to be sustainable and lasting. This is exciting news and upon my return, I will tell the Board of Directors and Congress in the United States about the progress that Sierra Leone has made,” he said.
In his response, President Bio thanked Mr Cairncross and his team for visiting Sierra Leone and spoke about that the importance of the MCC threshold programme. He said that the MCC funded programme aligns well with his government’s priorities, particularly the water and power sectors.
“We are fully committed to completing the threshold programmes because they have laid a solid foundation for our development aspirations. We will embrace them because I know they will further strengthen our partnership,” President Bio assured.
Mr Cairncross and his MCC team then went to Aberdeen where they officially launched the District Metering Area (DMA) Pipe Rehabilitation and Kiosks Demonstration project, which is being implemented in collaboration with the Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC).
The DMA activity is part of the $44.4 Million Sierra Leone Threshold Programme grant which is funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United States of America.
The project aims to improve GVWC’s operations by reducing Non-Revenue Water (NRW) in the Aberdeen and Kingtom communities. This intervention is essential to laying the foundation for the financially viable provision of water services. If this pilot project is successful, it can be incrementally scaled up to cover the rest of greater Freetown.
Funds for the DMA project are estimated at $4.12 Million and it is expected to benefit over 38,000 people in the Aberdeen and Kingtom communities. The project is expected to achieve the following:
- Installation of 3.1-kilometer pipeline
- Installation of 1,246 customer meters to private homes
- Removal of 15.6 kilometer spaghetti pipes
- Safe disposal of 380 meters Asbestos pipes
- Installation of 71 Manifolds
- Construction of 11 water kiosks
- Establishment of a digital control room for remote monitoring of the system
- 42 Project Affected Persons fully compensated
The MCC is supporting Guma Valley Water Company to build its capacity to deliver sustainable water services to the people within its coverage area. This demonstration activity will provide Guma an on-the-ground practicum to test and develop sustainable service improvement and delivery systems that can be institutionalized across its service area. The construction phase commenced on February 21, 2020 and will be completed in January 2021.