The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources is developing ambitious strategies to make sure that Sierra Leone has the power and water services it needs in order to move forward.
Professor Ogunlade Davidson, Minister of Energy and Water resources, explains that his ministry has three key goals: to ensure that Sierra Leone has adequate electricity supplies, including reserves; to provide uncontaminated piped water for every person; and to establish a nationwide energy grid. He says, “We are first determining how much energy we need, and secondly we are looking into producing energy as a source of revenues. We know that we cannot achieve our development goals in any sector without adequate energy. As for water, we want to move beyond wells to focus on piped water that is free of contaminants.”
To achieve its goals, the ministry has launched the second phase of the Bumbuna hydropower project along with an ambitious country-wide electrification pro-gramme which includes provincial power stations. “We want to increase access to electricity in the provinces, and we intend to make sure that all major cities have electricity access within the next years,” the Minister says. Sierra Leone has also launched an ambitious project supported by ECOWAS Bank which aims to power 10,000 street lamps with solar energy.
Diverse opportunities for private investment
The Ministry of Energy and Water welcomes the involvement of private investors in energy and water projects. Ogunlade Davidson cites investment opportunities for independent power producers, particularly concerning renewable energy projects, and for companies producing equipment and services related to energy distribution, such as metering systems. In the water sector, investors can win concessions from local communities and rural areas for water and waste treatment systems. Sierra Leone’s ongoing privatisation programme will also create investment opportunities.
The government is partnering with external funding organisations, including the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the Japanese government, to develop the country’s power and water sectors. It has already made significant progress. Ogunlade Davidson explains, “Before the current government took office, our energy production was limited to one facility producing 5 MW. Now we are producing 60 MW to 70 MW in Freetown. The Minister urges investors to target Sierra Leone. He says, “Sierra Leone has changed and is open for business. The government is creating the right policies and incentives for investors in the energy and water sectors. We invite investors to come prosper with us.”