World Bank approves $50 million to improve Sierra Leone’s electricity supply

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 May 2019:

The World Bank has approved a $50 million International Development Association (IDA) credit for Sierra Leone’s Energy Sector Utility Reform Project (ESURP) to support improvement in the operational performance of the national electricity distribution utility.

According to the World Bank statement, this additional financing is scaling up the investment activities of electricity supply in urban areas as well as increasing the capacity, efficiency, and reliability of the distribution network and connecting new residential, commercial, and industrial users in Freetown.

It further seeks to build the capacity and develop human capital for the Ministry of Energy and other agencies for sector planning and policy formulation.

The financing is fully aligned with the parent project and aims to further strengthen the commercial management of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) in addition to enhancing its management and staff capacity.

It is the first additional financing for the project, bringing total IDA financing under the project to about US$90 million.

Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone, said: “This support is consistent with the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework for Sierra Leone (FY2019-2025) currently under preparation, which reiterates the focus on energy to support growth in various sectors of the economy.

“The project will help increase the availability and improve the quality of electricity services for economic activities and job creation, thereby improving the living standards of Sierra Leoneans.”

Sierra Leone has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world. Its main power network now consists of a 161kV radial single circuit transmission line (of 70MW capacity) connecting the existing Bumbuna hydropower plant to the distribution network in Freetown.

The electricity access rate is about 16 percent, with about 90 percent of the 172,000 customers located in the urban parts of Freetown.

Only five of the 16 district capitals are partially supplied by a combination of small diesel units and mini hydropower plants. The electrification rate in the vast rural parts of the country is almost zero.

As improved technical and commercial performance of the distribution sector is critical to attracting private sector investment in the generation sector, the project seeks to improve the reliability and sufficiency of electricity supply, so as to promote private investment in the industrial and business sectors.

The World Bank says that, the additional financing is in line with the Country Systematic Diagnostic disclosed on April 4, 2018, which identified electricity access as one of the nine priority areas of potential intervention to address the binding constraints to increased economic growth and poverty reduction in Sierra Leone.

It supports the implementation of the Maximizing Finance for Development approach laid out in the World Bank’s Development Committee paper by addressing the key operational issues of the distribution sector.

The ESURP comprises three components: the first supports the establishment of a fully functioning and effective national electricity distribution utility; the second supports an extensive investment program for the rehabilitation and expansion of the national distribution network; and the third involves capacity building, project implementation, and project monitoring and evaluation


  1. As Santhkie Sorie says, Loans are bad and grants are good. There is no doubt that Sierra Leone has major problems re electricity and water supplies. But the major infrastructure needed depends on one or the other.

    Unfortunately as the saying goes, beggars cannot be choosers; Which leads me to ask: Are all Chinese investments in the country going to be a good or bad thing?

  2. Thanks Anthony for reaching out to Saidu and myself. These are the examples we want our politicians to follow. They should just discuss the issues in PARLIAMENT and find compromise and solutions even if an issue is contentious, controversial or difficult.

    As you rightly said, we should all be proud and grateful to this respected MEDIA outlet for not only giving us a medium/platform to express our political frustrations but, also educating us to be responsible POLITICIANS. Who knows if someone from this platform will one day hold the KEYS to STATE HOUSE. That’s why we must be very careful how we behave and treat each other.

    I regret to say that, I am for the moment not supporting any political Party. In fact I am part of a movement that want to take on the mainstream parties. Could you imagine? Very SERIOUS AND DIFFICULT UNDERTAKING. The mainstream parties have made the average Sierra Leonean VOTERS very MONEY CONSCIOUS.

    They tell you without hesitation, NO CASH, NO VOTE. That was the dilemma and nightmare we had last year. OH BOY, you should have the money or the SPONSORS. PERIOD. However, we are doing are best.

    That is why, we are doing all we can for the government of the day to succeed. But, regrettably, they don’t listen. However, We will continue to help till 2022. After 2022, I will make my position clear. But, to be honest, I want GOLD(SH).
    Finally, GOD BLESS YOU AND SAIDU for the respect and civility this time around. GOD BLESS THE SIERRA LEONE TELEGRAPH.

  3. This is wonderful news for our country because it’s an indication that our credibility has been enhanced under the new direction. Based on my experience in the USA, credibility or credit rating for either an individual or company from Exquifax (which determines your credit rating) is paramount. I believe the World Bank has also based their decision to approve $50 million loan for the new government due to their financial performance within a year.

    Most of us living abroad have had the opportunity to live a good life through the establishment of credit facilities from mainly Equifax – by first trying us with credit cards, then loans for furnitures, electronics, then automobiles and finally houses. That’s the only way we usually enjoy the American Dream. Therefore, paying your bills on time will enable you to continue to live a good life.

    So, our leaders should use this opportunity to bless our people with good life and probably. If we continue to increase our credibility, we will be respected and treated as partners and will be considered for debt relief or waiver as was in the case of the former SLPP government under the late President Kabba.

    But if we decide to treat loans as an opportunity to grab or steal, then financial institutions will be left with no option but to pack and leave, as was experienced under the past APC government.

  4. Hi DaVoice. Santhkie has already answered the questions I asked you. Problem solved. Read his comment on this article. Bye for now. GOD bless you.

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