December 14, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The World Bank Group has approved an additional US$59.57million to aid the implementation of the Western African Power Pool’s (WAPP) power interconnection project.
The project will be implemented by Transco CLGS and it is expected to be completed sometime in 2019, thereby helping interconnect four countries, namely Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast into the 225kilo volt regional energy market in West Africa and also increase electricity supply in the four countries.
Also, the project will provide residents of Greater Monrovia Area in Liberia, Bo, Kenema and the Western Area in Sierra Leone, and the Forest Region of Guinea with improvements in power supply in the short-term.
The bank’s Country Manager, Parminder Brar, told a presser yesterday that the project commenced in 2012 with funding primarily from the European Investment Bank, African Development Bank and the World Bank.
He stated that in 2016 the project realised a financing gap amounting to US$60milliom because the cost had gone up and they could not complete it with the initial cost of US$476million.
According to him, because other funding agencies were not willing to provide the additional funding, they were approached by government to close the funding gap in a bid to ensure timely completion of the project.
“The money will support the CMSC transmission line which goes from Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea and here. It is a 2.5kva transmission line with the bulk of the distance coming from Sierra Leone. We think that this line is actually critical for Sierra Leone because it will build substations and goes through six districts,” he revealed.
Country Manager of Transco, Paul Saffa, thanked the bank for stepping in and providing additional financing gap to the project.
He said the bank is concerned about the social component of the project, and that they would ensure that residents of Pujehun, Kenema, Kono, Bombali, Tonkolili, Koinadugu and Kambia districts, where the route of about 530 kilometre will go through, would benefit from cheap, efficient and affordable power supply under what he described as ‘shield wire arrangements’.
“We are currently in the mobilisation stage but we are hopeful that the project will be completed by 2019,” he said.