25 January 2013
Report from the Sierra Leone Embassy staff in Ethiopia, says that foreign minister – Samura Kamara has held bilateral discussions on the fringes of the AU Executive Council meeting with the Indian delegation, which is led by the Vice-Minister of External Affairs – Sudhid Vyas.
Mr. Vyas is said to have expressed his country’s willingness to support any project that meets Sierra Leone’s development activities, in areas such as capacity building and training.
Dr. Samura Kamara said the rural solar electrification project, which is being supported by the Indian Government, is a flagship scheme for Sierra Leone.
He pointed out that 15 women have received training from India, adding that other women will soon be joining the training programme.
Dr. Samura, who is attending the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, described the Indian supported solar project as one of the most successful bilateral projects ever initiated by the two countries.
But, notwithstanding minister Samura’s optimism with regard to the solar electrification project, serious concerns have been raised about the lack of transparency surrounding the management of the project.
Critics have accused the president of nepotism and cronyism, for his decision to award the contract for the delivery of the solar electrification project to an Indian company that is partly owned by his sister.
The World Bank in 2010 had provided funding of more than $20 Million, in support of the rural electrification project in Sierra Leone.
But three years on, there are few solar panels to be seen working in the country, despite the prioritization of electricity by the president. Like most infrastructural projects in the country, value-for-money, despite enormous public spending, is difficult to ascertain.
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