Say African Leaders; Break Ground for the CLSG Interconnection Project
The first cross-border energy supply between Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) that will support economic development, reduce the need to use expensive generators and allow existing and future hydropower projects to benefit the region has commenced with the ground breaking for its interconnection project.
President Ellen Johnson of Liberia led the historic ground breaking of the energy project. Joining her were her counterparts from Côte d’Ivoire, President Alassane Ouattara; Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma; and Guinea, President Alpha Condé.
Donor partners, contractors and other high-level officials from ECOWAS, the CLSG countries and the international community were in attendance, according to a CLSG press release.
“We are pleased for this project. As many of you know, as ECOWAS proceeds to transform our economy, power has been identified as one of our main constraints. For Liberia, power is the one thing that has made a difference in the deterioration in the quality of life in all areas, as power supports education, health, industry, security and the comfort of life,” President Johnson Sirleaf said in her opening remarks.
President Sirleaf maintains the CLSG project will bring to the beneficiary countries a big relief and that for those countries emerging, it will enable them to move at a faster pace in achieving their development goals.
She described the CLSG project as a major impetus for development in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “As we break grounds, all four of us as leaders of the CLSG countries, give to TRANSCO CLSG our fullest commitment and support to see that this project moves as quickly as possible in reaching the goals that have been set.”
Once operational the CLSG Interconnector will ensure that communities across the four countries can access affordable electricity.
“Hard work by African and international partners over recent years have ensured that essential technical and financial preparations, based on international best practice, could be completed and the construction phase of the scheme proceed. CLSG Transco looks forward to continuing this close cooperation over the years to come,” confirmed Mohammed M. Sherif, Director General of TRANSCO CLSG.
The regional importance of the CLSG project was highlighted at a ground-breaking ceremony in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, attended by the heads of state of Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and local and international partners involved in the project.
In Sierra Leone and Liberia less than 5 percent of inhabitants have access to electricity and recent conflict in the region severely damaged existing infrastructure and hindered development of new networks. The new interconnector is also expected to significantly reduce use of diesel and heavy fuel oil generators.
The European Investment Bank is providing a EUR 75 million 25-year loan for the EUR 370 million CLSG Interconnector project that is also being financed by the African Development Bank, World Bank and KfW, as well as the four countries involved.
The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund is also providing grant funding totaling EUR 27 million that will support technical assistance for engineering, feasibility studies and rural electrification. It will also reduce the loan repayment costs thereby allowing transmission tariffs to remain lower.
The European Investment Bank has supported regional energy investment through development and expansion of the West African Power Pool since 2005 and financed rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee hydropower facility in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 7.5 billion for energy investment across Africa.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its member states. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU’s policy goals.