The West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the Ministry of Energy and Power has ended the first meeting for Ministers of Energy of the Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea on the (CLSG) interconnection project at the Kimbima Hotel in Freetown.
In his statement, the Secretary General of WAPP Amadou Diallo expressed appreciation on behalf of the different delegations and complimented Energy and Power Minister Afsatu Kabba, the General Manager of the National Power Authority (NPA) and the Director of Bumbuna PIU for the effort they have made to ensure the success of the meeting.
He revealed that “WAPP, the States and Member utilities involved have made significant strides towards the implementation of the project.”
Mr. Diallo pointed out that from June to December 2007, Terms of Reference for feasibility Study and Line Route and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments were prepared and adopted; Request for funding was dispatched to funding agencies; and the European Investment Bank and WAPP signed Technical Assistance Grant Agreement for the implementation of the studies.
From December 2007to date, he said that, the recruitment process for the consultant to conduct the pre-investments studies has been completed and work will commence early September.
The WAPP Secretary General noted that, several meetings have been held between World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Governments of the concerned countries and WAPP Secretariat in order to take into account the new developments of the project in these countries.
Though a lot has been achieved, a lot still remains to be done for the CLSG project to become a reality said Mr. Diallo.
He concluded that he was proud of WAPP member utilities and very privileged to be mandated to promote this vital project by the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.
After having welcomed all participants, Haja Afsatu Kabba confirmed the importance of the meeting in the sense that energy constituted the engine of development of all sectors of activity.
Consequently, she exhorted the participants to be open minded in order to achieve positive results not only for one country but also for the well being of the population of the sub-region.
The Minister said that, President Koroma is a firm believer in sub regional integration and the need for ECOWAS Member States to support each other’s development efforts for the common good of all West African Citizens.
She reiterated that President Koroma supports WAPP in its desire to integrate the national power system operations among ECOWAS states in to a unified regional electricity market- with the expectation that such mechanism would, over the medium to long term, assure the citizens of ECOWAS Member States of a stable and reliable electricity supply at affordable costs.
Sierra Leone, she said has always subscribed to the creation of WAPP by the Heads of State and firmly believes that it can contribute to the alleviation of the energy supply constraints within the sub region due to its vast untapped hydro power potential which will lead to economic development and poverty alleviation in ECOWAS Member States.
The Minister revealed that Sierra Leone’s Bumbuna hydroelectric project was nearly completed when the civil war disrupted construction.
Haja Kabba pointed out that a post war evaluation of the damage to the Bumbuna revealed over 89 kilometer transmission line from Bumbuna to Freetown costing over $10 Million was stolen and converted to scrap metal that initiated and boosted the scrap metal trade by the enemies of progress.
Through WAPP, the Minister said a specialized institution of ECOWAS, a window of opportunity is therefore, being provided to increase the access of its citizens of the community to stable and reliable electricity at affordable costs.
“The Coastal Transmission Backbone Sub-program of WAPP will definitely facilitate unconstrained cross border electricity exchanges between Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in the shortest possible time said the Minister Haja Kabba.
She further added that, with cross border energy networks, countries with surplus power could run their stations at optimum output without risking oversupply. In the final communiqué signed by Haja Afsatu Kabba its states that the objectives of the meeting were to review the report presented by the Experts. The Ministers applauded the achievements made towards the realization of the Project and reaffirmed the interest of the beneficiary countries, both in terms of facilitating economic recovery and development, and also in terms of sub regional integration.
By Abibatu Kamara