The Minister of Energy and Power Haja Afsatu Kabba, has been elected as chairperson of the Ministers for Energy of the Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) interconnection project for a period of one year.
The CLSG interconnection project comprises a high voltage transmission line of approximately 1,100 Km from Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The estimated cost of the project is about €200 Million as of 2004.
The project will serve to establish a corridor of low cost power supply from Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea WAPP Zone A to Zone B.
This appointment came in a final communiqué signed in Freetown at the Kimbima Hotel in a first meeting of the Ministers of Energy of CLSG interconnection project conference organized by the Ministry of Energy and Power and the West African Power Pool (WAPP).
In her statement, Haja Afsatu Kabba, thanked delegates from CLSG for appointing her as chairperson and promised that she will perform her duty diligently.
She noted that “the problem of electricity shortage is commonplace in almost all West African countries”, adding that the proportion of people in West Africa still depends on inefficient traditional energy sources and is higher than in any other continent.”
The newly appointed chairperson disclosed that, the bulk of power plants and transmission facilities in this part of the world were built in the 1950s and 1960s- the Sierra Leone network was built in 1968.
Haja Afsatu Kabba stated that, blackouts and inaccessibility continued to impede economic growth in our countries and acknowledge an urgent need for long term visionary approach to sector management.
The Minister said that President Koroma in his inaugural meeting at the wells of Parliament chose the provision of energy for the citizenry as his number one priority and made no mistakes of appointing her as the Minister of Energy and Power.
In his remarks the Secretary General of WAPP Amadou Diallo, said that what we are witnessing at this moment defines the direction that WAPP is pursuing in all areas of our electricity sector development.
He added that, “we need to integrate our economies even the more in order to improve the economic wellbeing of the citizenry”. Individually, he said as countries we may be vulnerable, but collectively we possess economic power to negotiate effectively with our partners thus mobilize the required resources to fund our power infrastructure projects.
WAPP Secretary General, noted that interconnection of national utilities grids will help us to increase socio economic development, trade and enhance living standards.
“As you all know, these basic requirements that our people are entitled to – we must work towards obtaining them said Mr Diallo.
Earlier on in his opening statement, Mayor of Freetown, Herbert George Williams said that, there is no gainsaying that energy is the backbone of development of any nation and that there is great need to work concertedly in seeking sustainable solution to the energy crises facing Africa
The final communiqué commended the experts and the WAPP Secretariat for the achievements so far made in the implementation of the project, and heartily encouraged them to continue with its diligent execution.
In the Resolution relating to the creation of the joint Implementation Committee (JIC) for
the execution of the CLSG interconnection project, it states that the member countries and their respective National Power Utilities agree to abide by the provisions of this Resolution and shall ensure that their respective subsidiary, agencies, and officials, and their successors and assignees do the same.
The ceremony was preceded by a courtesy call to President Koroma at State House. A presentation of the project was made to the President who confirmed his support and the commitment of his government to participate in the implementation of the project.
By Abibatu Kamara