The African Development Bank (AfDB) together with UK Aid, better known as the Department for International Development (DfID), have committed $53 million towards the rehabilitation and extension of the Bo-Kenema Electricity Distribution System in Sierra Leone.
According to the AfDB the Bo-Kenema rehabilitation project, which was launched on Monday, is in line with the government's Post Ebola Recovery Programme, identified as a key deliverable, in the efforts to improve citizen access to energy services.
The project directly contributes to the AfDB's New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to secure universal energy access on the continent by 2025 and support efforts to mitigate climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the use of diesel and kerosene for lighting, the bank stated.
The multilateral bank will invest $13 million and oversee project delivery, while the DfID has committed $40 million.
The project will upgrade and construct a 33kV electricity line between Bo and Kenema. Also new primary substations are set to be built to enhance the reliability and sustainability of electricity supply between the two cities.
The AfDB highlighted that for the first time, 37,000 households located in Bo, Kenema and villages along the route of the distribution line, will benefit from a supply of electricity through the installation of pre-paid electricity meters connecting them to the line.
Furthermore, Bo-Kenema project will also provide technical training for staff at the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) and other key stakeholders.
Minister of energy, Henry Macauley, commented: "Today marks a key milestone in government of Sierra Leone's commitment to provide affordable and reliable access to electricity across the country under the Agenda for Prosperity launched by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
“The Bo-Kenema rehabilitation project is an evidence of the fruitful cooperation between the ministry of energy, the AfDB and the DfID. All parties are committed to a swift implementation that will lay the foundations for the economic rebirth of Bo and Kenema as we share the conviction electricity supply to small and medium enterprises and households is key to a sustainable development."
Vice-President of Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Amadou Hott, said: "AfDB is committed to working with partners to catalyse economic development in post-conflict countries, such as Sierra Leone through projects that open up new markets and provide opportunities for local communities.”
“The Bo-Kenema project is also exemplary in that the Bank was able to mobilise significant co-financing for the project in line with the Bank's new business model to attract additional capital to the continent,” Hott added.
Also speaking at the launch, was British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington, he said, “The UK government is a long-term supporter of the government of Sierra Leone's efforts to improve energy access across the country, and will invest $40 million in the rehabilitation and extension of the Bo-Kenema Electricity Distribution System.”