Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 December 2021:
Yesterday, President Dr Julius Maada Bio officially switched on the Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea electricity interconnection line at Teloma, bringing power to his political heartland in the south and east of the country.
Approximately 530km, 225 kV power line now serves seven districts across Sierra Leone – Pujehun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Bombali, Kambia and Karene, according to TRANSCO CLSG, the regional power interconnection facility owner and transmission service provider.
According to President Bio, “the lesson from developing economies is simple. More electricity means more economic activity and better jobs, more profitable private capital investments, increased manufacturing and technological capacity, increased food production, more innovation, better healthcare and education, greater use of telecommunications, and better quality of life in general,” as he thanked the World Bank, the African Development Bank, GiZ and the international community for supporting the project to completion/
The President noted that the lack of accessible, reliable, and affordable electricity is a constraint to economic growth and national development.
“So, for us, as a Government, more energy – especially sustainable and affordable energy, sits well with our country’s development needs and agenda. Energy is indeed a critical cross-enabler and driver of development.
“We are, therefore, eager to use the network to attract investments in small scale manufacturing, agriculture, the service sector, and other small and medium enterprises that enhance the value-chain in diverse areas of the country,” he said.
President Bio further said that his Government has put in place a number of incentives for private companies seeking to locate to rural or peri-urban areas, adding that the availability of electricity, land, skilled and educated youthful population in Kenema and Bo could make that decision easier for private investors.
“Let me also thank the teams from TRANSCO CLSG, CI Energies/CIE, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Finance, EDSA, and EGTC. We owe you a debt of gratitude for working really hard to ensure today’s milestone event. Thank you,” he said.
General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG, Mohamed Sheriff, recalled that within its master plan, the West African Power Pool has planned to accelerate several regional interconnection line projects, including a transmission line to interconnect the states of Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinéa.
“The CLSG Project is a multinational investment operation and is financed by 4 donors namely, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the KfW and the African Development Bank.
“The four beneficiary countries have provided counterpart fundings for the payments of Resettlement Action Plans and Interest accrued during construction and duty-free concessions,” he said.
Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay said: “Your Excellency, I am proud that through your visionary leadership, we have moved from 11% electricity access in 2018 to 31% currently. Under the Rural Electrification Component of the CLSG project, we will electrify some 27 communities along the transmission line corridor, including Teloma, Hanga Town, Panderu, Ngelehun Mano Junction, Largoh, Ngeihun, Panguma, Gorahun, Gbeworbu, Gegbema, Jewahun, Levuma and many more.”
He added that the advent of electricity would be a transformative process in the lives of people in the rural communities, who will no doubt seize the opportunity to elevate themselves out of poverty.
“Your Excellency Sir, as you are aware, we have spent quite a considerable amount of finances on this project in the form of duty and tax waivers, provision of liquid cash payments for the compensation of Project Affected Persons and the EDSA’s capital payment to TRANSCO CLSG.
“This is a manifestation of our commitment to ensuring that this project is successful. As a government, we are painfully aware that electricity is not free. Good, affordable, 24-hour electricity to these towns and surrounding villages, will require pledges by all consumers to pay, and at the same time, to become watchdogs to report instances of theft and improper connections anywhere,” he urged.