Sierra Leone secures World Bank finance for a 50MW solar power plant 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 October 2018:

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance – Jacob Jusu Saffa today 11th October 2018 signed a $40 million agreement with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, for the installation of a 50MW Solar plant in Sierra Leone.

It all started at the African Development Bank Annual meeting in Busan, South Korea in May this year, when Minister Saffa presented the case for the urgent need to provide affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity for the people of Sierra Leone.

With only 12% of households having access to reliable supply of electricity in Sierra Leone, the Minister said that without electricity, the delivery of the government’s Free Quality Education flagship programme will he seriously hampered.

He stressed the need for sustainable and affordable electricity to develop the health, education and business sectors, and  appealed to the Bank to expedite the project preparation and implementation.

The Bank’s vice president reiterated their commitment to expeditiously process the project and indicted that with smooth flow, they can deliver the 50MW in 18-24 months.  When completed, the cost of electricity tariff from the solar plant would be less than 8 US cents.

In another development earlier in Abuja, Nigeria, Jacob Jusu Saffa met with senior officials of  the Indian Government, Indian EXIM Bank and many CEOs of Indian companies on October 8-9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja.

The meeting dubbed CII-EXIM Bank Regional Conclave on India and West Africa, brought together West Africa Ministers, senior officials of governments of India and West Africa countries, CEOs, diplomats and potential investors.

The purpose of the conference was to discuss challenges and opportunities for strengthening cooperation between India and West Africa, and specifically, to increase  foreign direct investment flows to West Africa from India and expand both imports and exports from all sides.

Discussions covered investments in energy, manufacturing, education, agriculture, ICT and the environment.

The Finance Minister held discussions with C.R Chaudhary,  Minister of State Commerce and Industry, Debasish Mallick, Deputy Managing  Director,  EXIM Bank of India, Harish Kumar, Chief Manager, EXIM Bank, Pushpesh Tyagi, Resident Representative of India Exim based in Cote D’ivoire and Indrayani Mulay, Deputy Director,  International Division,  Confederation of Indian Industry and Keshav Chandra, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Saffa successfully negotiated the reactivation of two pipeline projects in agriculture and water sectors which were about to be cancelled due to the failure of the last regime to prepare proposals to access funding for these projects.

The two projects are –  a US$30 million project for Torma Bum rice farming and a US$15 million four town water supply project.

Mr. Saffa is expected to link with respective sector ministries to flesh out proposals to access funding for these projects.

Already, a US$78 million Transmission and Substations Energy project has recently been approved but await detailed project design. The Minister further discussed preferential trade facilities with the Indian Government.

Minister Saffa presented priorities of the Bio administration, education and training, agriculture, tourism and marine. He spoke about opportunities in these sectors and called on Indian Investors to come to Sierra Leone.

The Minister left Abuja for Bali, Indonesia yesterday Tuesday, October 9,2018 for the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings, leading a delegation of 3 officials from Finance,  2 from BSL, 2 from NRA and 3 from NCP.

As reported earlier Minister Saffa met with the World Bank Vice President, officials of Global Financing Facility, and held discussions on the development of human capital.

He has signed a $40 million finance agreement with IFC of the World Bank Group, for the development of a 50MW solar power facility in Sierra Leone.

In 2014 the government of president Ernest Bai Koroma signed an $18 million financing agreement with the Arab Development Fund for the installation of a solar plant in Freetown, and not a single cent was accounted for, nor a solar park developed.

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