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World Bank reviews implementation of energy projects

March 25, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

A team of specialists from the World Bank is currently in Sierra Leone to review performance of the Bank’s portfolio projects that are being implemented by stakeholders in the energy sector.

World Bank is supporting three projects in the energy sector, with two of them – the Energy Access Project and Energy Sector Utility Reform Projects – currently being implemented by the government of Sierra Leone, while modalities are being put in place for the implementation of Copperbelt Energy Cooperation Project.

According to team leader, Carol Litwin, who is the Bank’s Senior Energy Sector Specialist, their main goal of visiting is to review the Bank’s current and future investments in the energy sector, as well as supervise the implementation of the ongoing Energy Access Project and the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project.

She observed that the energy sector is so important that it needs to be improved on, and encouraged investors to come to the country, create jobs and contribute to the country’s economy.

Ms. Litwin noted that the achievement of an effective healthcare system is highly incumbent on electricity supply and that the Bank, through the two projects, would support the government construct the network system, improve on some existing facilities, and assist in improving energy commercialisation and revenue generation in the sector.

She described the projects as transformational and that they could derive benefit for both the energy sector and other sectors, adding that they would stand by the government and ensure the newly established Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA) effectively supply electricity to homes across the country.

Minister of Energy, Henry Macauley, spoke about the three projects that are being supported by the World Bank: the Copperbelt Energy Cooperation (CEC) that would construct 128 megawatts heavy fuel oil power plant with some associated distribution infrastructure to supply Freetown; the Energy Access Project; and the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project.

He said the projects are geared towards attracting investors and contribution to national development, while acknowledging that the implementation of the projects had been snail-paced due to the Ebola outbreak, but noted that the bidding process is ongoing for contractors to start implementing the projects.

Board Chairman of EDSA, Sanusi Deen, noted that the newly established entity is functioning although it still faces some challenges, including technical loss and theft of electricity, but expressed optimism that the project would solve the challenges facing the energy sector.