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EC Approves 4.8 Million Euros for Rural Electrification

Feb 12, 2008 - The Analyst/All Africa Global Media

The European Commission approved a 4.8 million Euro contribution (approximately USD 7 million) to a program linking three counties to the West African Power Pool (WAPP).

As a result of the 30 month cross-border program, 131,000 people mainly in rural communities of Maryland, Nimba and Grand Gedeh will be connected to the electricity grid and supplied with power, a European Commission release has disclosed.

The EC said that as a consequence of the extensive destruction and vandalization of power infrastructure during the years of civil war, no public supply of electricity has been available to Liberia.

The non-availability of power is still a challenge for the post-war restoration of economic activity. Adequate and reliable power supply is one of the major critical pre-requisites for poverty reduction and wealth creation.

While efforts are being made to restore power services mostly to the Liberian's capital city and its environs, Liberian rural communities are still sufferings from complete lack of power supply.

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have together identified the major constraint that is currently thwarting the countries' efforts at seeking access to cost competitive sources of electrical energy for economic development as the lack of adequate transmission linkages both within member countries and between the national power systems of the ECOWAS region.

In order to address the issue of power supply deficiency within West Africa, the WAPP was created as a Specialized Institution of ECOWAS; its scope of work is determined by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments.

The WAPP Organization, in collaboration with the national utilities of both Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, namely the Liberian Electricity Corporation (LEC) and the Societe d'Operation Ivoirienne d'Electricite (SOPIE), will complete preparatory activities for the cross-border electricity supply projects, as well as undertake the construction of the Medium Voltage (MV) and Low Voltage (LV) transmission lines, transformer substations and service connections.

The action will facilitate the supply of electricity from Cote d'Ivoire to a total of 18 communities or towns in Maryland, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties.

The supply of electrical energy from across the border, since this is from hydro and natural gas sources, promises to be more cost effective than the diesel-based generation that is the only reasonable alternative for the beneficiary communities.

It is expected that the action will provide power for up to 131,000 citizens, for a number of local commercial activities, as well as for social service community facilities such as schools and clinics resulting in the improvement of health delivery, educational performance and school enrolling.

EC contribution to WAPP builds on previous and ongoing EU interventions in Liberia to support the electricity sector, with the overarching objectives of contributing to the efforts of the Liberian government in reducing poverty, strengthening the foundations for democracy, providing political stability and rebuilding the social and economic fabric of the country.

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