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.

  5. Mr Moiba, I thank you for your kind words and gentle sense of humor. It seems to me that a brilliant mind like yours should be helping the SLPP increase its momentum and speed from its present snail-slow pace of governance, towards lightning sustainable progress.

    I hope you are not of those intellectuals who study and create ideas but are not able to implement and put them into practice. For what good is there in having a bicycle if you don’t know how to mount and ride it? Most people, especially Africans, lack the abilities to solve problems in a practical way – that’s why we find ourselves moving backwards into dark holes and ditches, conundrums and quagmires, instead of moving forward towards the light and greener pastures.

    A palm wine tapper didn’t have to wait for a mechanized ladder to be given to him before he would begin to climb and do his work – instead he used his mind cleverly with great skill, craftiness and a simple rope to create a device that would enable him to climb the highest palm tress human eyes has ever seen.

    All of us must strive to display such brilliance in our daily lives. Ingenuity – using what you have and making it into something of value and of great use is rare gift indeed.Creating ideas and finding solutions for problems is an admirable thing, but implementing with ease or strain or even pain will only bring you recognition if the results of your labors prove to be a success.

    I think the SLPP should hold on to you like glue o paper, before another party snatches you away way from their unfruitful, lackadaisical hands…..Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • Mr. Sahr Matturi and Mr. Saidu Conteh, I want to express my sincere thanks for the privileged exchange of ideas which I hope will benefit us all. Our mini national cohesion (by the way I’m a member of the NGC Party and we always put Salone Fos), should always prevail however tough our political differences “might be”.

      And of course, we should also be thankful to the Sierra Leone Telegraph for offering us this platform to express our views.

      I’m one Sim and have only this one Salone, which I’m very confident will prevail; and should in case the SUN would rise again……let it please shine on us all.

  6. Mr. Sahr Matturi: “The GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE MUST reduce the number of it’s MINISTERS…” or the President should drastically reduce his overseas travelling…… I will agree with you but these are populist ideas that won’t reduce our debt nor solve our dependence on loans. Please no malice!

    Mr. Saidu Conteh: We all know just too well what it means to take a loan from the international institutions and the consequence of course we experience every day in Africa and Sierra Leone in particular. You said solutions to solve the debt burden are many and you thankfully listed some in your comment with which I wholeheartedly agree and I quote:

    – creating institutions that can make fiscal responsibility the highest priority of government…….
    – monitoring of government revenue and expenditure with relentless, meticulous, vigilance, will ensure transparency and accountability in it’s finest forms…
    – renegotiation of our existing loans, searching and pursuing new trade partners, investment by government in financial markets and projects with promising outlooks

    Mr. Conteh I have the feeling after reading your economical comments (not the political comments …laugh) that a lot combines us than you can imagine and politics must not stand in the way forward for Salone.

    My suggestion for our economical survival even with the debt burden we are presently confronted with, can be serviced if we try to at least adopt some of the following;

    – Hugh investment in Energy
    – Hugh investment in Agriculture and Fishery
    – Improve communication and road networks
    – Education, Education and Education (emphasis on vocational education)
    – Birth control, birth control and birth control
    – Diversify the economy

    – Fight corruption at all levels from the schools, hospitals across the judiciary, civil servants, police and up to the politicians
    – Reduce the number of political parties in the country
    – Strengthen and professionalise our existing Institutions
    – The main opposition party should form a shadow cabinet
    – A conducive atmosphere for private investors

    – A national development Think Tank comprising of professionals from the field of Energy, Mining, Fishery, Financing/ Banking, Agriculture, Health and Tourism

    Above all what I have stated in my comment, the most important of all is the NATIONAL COHESION, with it we can be in the position to service any debt in this world. Salone WILL PREVAIL!!!

    • Thank you very much Anthony for your well written ideas. I appreciate you asking me to provide an A4 plan to present my economic ideas. I was just fine with your request. No malice at all as you stated. By the way, you have just provided us with something that will not only be helpful to us on this platform, but to our government if they are reading our comments. GREAT STUFF.

      Why I asked you to provide yours first was because I have already given my ideas sometime ago on this same topic. I most times find solutions, make suggestions or give ideas on the issues. Criticising without giving solutions or making suggestions is not a good idea. So don’t mind me with some of the words I used in my comment. I am very sorry if you were offended by that.

      My suggestions were made in my comment on the article dated February 19, 2019 captioned – Bread crisis in Freetown – too early for ministers to take eyes off the ball. Consult this link –
      Because I have already given ideas on this issue in the past, I just keep expressing my disgust with these loans which are just bad for our economic sovereignty each time they make the headlines.

      Finally, I have great respect for you and everyone participating on this platform. God Bless.

  7. We must all remember that there is an unambiguous distinction between a loan and a grant – the two are not interchangeable. A loan has to be paid back,usually with interest, whilst a grant is like a gift – a donation, which does not have to be repaid,be it from a philanthropist or financial institution.

    Naturally a loan is the financial item with the greatest risk for a nation like ours that can completely stifle economic growth and bury a whole nation into a quagmire of servitude and dependence,which Saidu Conteh alluded to. This risk is born when it never reaches its target or mismanaged because of the corrupt practices of both the government and individuals, who see loans as nothing more than a personal gifts to them, to do with as they please.

    The nation will pay while they enjoy a lavish lifestyle. Year in and year out the nation is not capable of servicing its debts and so become a huge credit risk – no financial institution wants to do business with it anymore. And so acute poverty grinds on among the poor and down trodden whose lack of sophistication cause them to vote for same people repeatedly.

    Assuming that the loan in question [$50 million] reaches its intended target, it should help to lower the risk of not being able to repay it without much trouble.With electricity reaching an increasing number of people the electricity bills so generated should provide the solid background for the repayment of the loan. This should do no harm to the credit worthiness of the nation nationally and internationally.

    President Bio and the nation should keep a very close eye on the minister responsible for electricity to see what he does with the loan;we should question all his moves to ensure that the result of the loan is not a palace that he erects in months while waiting for his custom made car to arrive.Maada Bio’s reputation is at stake since he wants to believe that he is Mr Clean.

    • Thanks Santhkie for your insight. More importantly, you mentioned the difference between a LOAN and a GRANT. Furthermore, you explained how to make sure that this loan is used for what it was meant and the signs people should look for when Mr. CORRUPTION is active.

      Finally and to be honest with you Santhkie, I am not a fan of these LOANS and CREDITS from the IMF/World Bank. These LOANS have been accorded since INDEPENDENCE, but with no tangible result. The country is still very poor. It HURTS. AH TELL YOU. That’s why I pray for a President who will take the country to default and teach the CREDITORS a lesson. However, I agree 100 percent with your explanations Santhkie. GOD BLESS YOU.

  8. The so called World Bank and IMF are now our saviors or so we think. Go president Bio, keep taking more loans and Grants. Eventually we will become a developed nation through loans and grants.

    • DISAPPOINTING STUFF. Point of CORRECTION DaVoice. It’s not President Bio who just go taking loans and grants from the IMF/WORLD BANK. It’s the IMF/WORLD BANK who impose their conditions/Bitter pills to GOVERNMENTS before they can get their LOANS and GRANTS as you stated. I am very delighted that you mentioned GRANTS.

      I have a simple question for you DaVoice – If you were to choose between LOANS and GRANTS, which of the two would you choose and why? DaVoice there, talking about LOANS and GRANTS at the same time. Thanks for your insight DaVoice.

    • Sahr Matturi, I wouldn’t take loan or grant from the IMF or World Bank. Don’t be naive my brother Sahr to think the World Bank would just give you 50 millions just like that. If you would accept that from satan then by all means accept it from the World Bank because there’s always a catch.

      These so called grants come with little strings attached to them. Strings that would maintain the World Bank control over your government and make you their slave. Ask your government, what is the catch behind the 50 million grant because “ain’t nothing free” with these people.

      We have allowed these entities to attach themselves to us, draining our life force every second, minute, hour, day, month, and every year. And like one of the commenters stated, they have been here since our so called independence. And through their subtlety and popular persuasions, exacting their control over us to make sure we’re always looking up to them for help.

      Its insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over and over again but expecting different results. Its high time that we start to redefine our relationship with the IMF and World Bank and most importantly western nations.

      Lets start taking loan from African entities like the African Development Bank. Lets start learning from other African nations like Tanzania, what are they doing that could be duplicated by Sierra Leone. This infatuation with western nations and their entities must stop if we hope to achieve any advancement.

  9. Mr Moiba – An A4 paper will not be enough for me to list and outline the daunting problems, that are intricately intertwined with our reprehensible, regrettable attitude of complete dependence on loans, given by external forces and institutions.These are vampire entities, whose only aim is to outwit, destroy and subject vulnerable and dirt-poor nations under their total domination and control.

    To put more simply, by calculated design, the borrower becomes more than a slave to the lender. The quest for the mineral resources of Africa is intensifying now more than ever before. The days of physical chains have long been forgotten. Now financial shackles with terrifying, crushing grips no man can loosen, are the new tactics of extreme submission and bondage.

    Ask yourself, have the endless offers of juicy, enticing baits, disguised as helpful loans given to African Countries,for scores of years, been of any noteworthy, sustainable help to them? The answer is an emphatic – No!! Loans from the IMF and other financial blood-sucking vampires,are designed to capture, subdue and not to liberate and set free.

    “Development Policy Lending” was created as an effective financial strategic noose, to choke and strangle poorer nations, especially those in Africa. The Policies of the IMF are like a financial maze, with enticing entrances but no exits. No one makes it out of there alive! Our leaders keep on taking loans with interests that are inflating by the minute like Oxygen balloons – loans that are meant to suck dry our natural resources like a swimming pool being emptied and drained of water by a giant vacuum.

    The solutions are many – The first and most critical step is to create institutions that can make fiscal responsibility the highest priority of government. Monitoring of government revenue and expenditure with a relentless, meticulous, vigilance, will ensure transparency and accountability in its finest forms. Credible efficient, workable institutions, that will get us on to a good start, are badly needed.

    Renegotiation of existing loans, searching and pursuing new trade partners, investment by government in financial markets and projects with promising outlooks, are just a few of the things government can do, to avoid plunging a nation into the dark valleys of debt…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  10. You World Economists, please lay down your Economic Plans for Salone taking into consideration our current situation in our country. Criticising is one thing – implementing is another. Mr Matturi and Mr. Conteh I want to challenge you two to present your economic ideas in one page A4 paperform in order for us to engage in a true constructive talk for our country’s way out of external debt accumulation. Please no excuse but ACTION.

    • Serious STUFF AND DEBATE. The first thing you could humbly do Anthony, is for you to provide your own economic ideas first before asking me. You are eager/anxious for IDEAS. To help you start, I will give you one very simple example/idea as a warning shot. By the way, I have enough FIRE POWER on this particular issue. So, if you want to challenge me on this issue, then, FORCES SHALL MEET FORCES.
      This is a very simple example to help you start – The GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE MUST reduce the number of it’s MINISTERS, thereby saving thousands of DOLLARS per year. You tell me what will happen if the country saves that amount of LOVELY BUCKS PER YEAR. So, if you really mean BUSINESS or want to CHALLENGE me, provide your IDEAS first Anthony. We go from there. Thanks Anthony for engaging me in this very important TOPIC.

    • Its run by the West (America, Europe etc…). The so called World Bank and IMF are both a spinoff from the Bretton Woods agreement of 1945. You can research it.

  11. The inadequacies, incompetencies and poor judgement of the Bio administration keep on revealing themselves – erupting here and there, one by one, like rashes on the skin of a beautiful woman…It seems, they haven’t learned from the past mistakes of other gullible nations, who plunged themselves headlong into the abysmal depths of financial ruin, from which they have never returned.

    I wish them good luck! Sierra Leone already owes the IMF hundreds of millions of dollars already – and according to what my findings have indicated, 40 percent of all revenues earned by our country, for the next 20 years are monies rightfully belonging to the IMF.

    Twenty long years, in which a tender sapling can become a full grown tree – that’s how long it will take to pay back our debts – if we stay on course. Imagine that! Everyone should consider this government as a failure and a disgrace for deliberately leading a fragile, struggling nation once again into the blood-stained slaughter houses of the IMF.

    What gives them the audacity to think a tender, vulnerable, ewe lamb is ready to be sacrificed for their sickening gluttony and greed? Gentlemen, please show due respect to other gradually progressing nation – do not at any time refer to, address or call this non-functioning, dysfunctional entity in Sierra Leone a legitimate government.

    Its unfair to others to do so…Its a wayward erratic, capricious Soup kitchen, like those in the slums and ghettos, where the Master Chef doesn’t know how to prepare the broth on the menu about to be served – he keeps on guessing, a little salt will do, some tumeric and garlic must be added, onions and broccoli also – truly pathetic.

    When will African leaders grow spines made of steel, tighten their belts and pull their nations away from the clutches of their imperialistic masters? You would think only a hopeless idiot will fall for the same trick twice – Wrong! Our leaders have been making those same childish, immature mistakes a thousand times over and over again, and it seems it will keep on continuing – ad infinitum.

    I ask them, for what reasons have we not been able to use our ingenuity and abundant resources to scrape up 50 million dollars from the bottom of any pot somewhere in Sa Lone? Trust me, there are so many ways to make such an amount without taking loans that will stifle economic progress, yet these dullards seem to be lost in their ignorance – with the words, ‘shockingly clueless and unimaginative’ written all over their faces, they can be seen out there pleading and begging for hand-outs from institutions controlled by their cruel, heartless colonial Masters. Truly Sad.

    A change is coming, a Change inspired by brilliant minds Africans can believe in – Authentic and all-embracing change – as bright, refreshing and as warm as noon-day – is not too far away…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  12. This money is going into the drain, I can assure anybody who cares to listen. If Sierra Leone generates only 70 megawatts from Bumbuna and it is only 16% that reaches Freetown where 90% of the population lives because of excessive line losses. To solve the problem why not build a 20 megawatt solar power plant on a 70 hectares of land in a Freetown surburb? That way, line losses could be minimized. Its just unfortunate that Africans keep taking new loans that will only profit World Bank consultants who will only offer self serving advice that will benefit the west.

  13. That is how the WORLD BANK and the IMF work with my COUNTRY. More DEBT and CREDIT for SIERRA LEONE and more GRANTS and LESS DEBT FACILITATION PROGRAMS for other countries. They have recently accorded more GRANTS and facilitated less DEBT programs for one of our neighbours. I will not call the country by name. They say in KRIO – CALL NAME NA IM GEH BLABA. But the WORLD BANK and the IMF know which country I am talking about.

    Is that FAIR? I should have taken the WORLD BANK and the IMF to COURT if there was a way because of them wilfully indebting my COUNTRY knowing that it can’t pay. A President will one day take Sierra Leone to DEFAULT and let all the CREDITORS do what they want to do. Other countries have done that in the past and now they are OK. Sierra Leone will one day do so. AMEN AND AMEN.

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