-Says Mercy Corps Country Director
Mercy Corps-Liberia Country Director, Kwesi Gyeabour said statistics have shown that only two percent of the country’s entire population have access to renewable energy, which they use separately to illuminate the home and also cook their food.
Based on that, Mercy Corps has focused its key and strategic plans on renewable energy, “because we have realized that from the onset, energy poverty is giving average Liberians problems,” Mr. Gyeabour said.
Therefore, he said Mercy Corps is currently working with several organizations, including the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), GIZ/EnDev, and other partners in the sector to improve the market for solar power.
Mr. Gyeabour made the observation on Friday, August 10, at a one-day Liberia renewable energy stakeholders’ meeting, and induction of Liberia Energy Access Practitioner (LEAP) network officials held in Monrovia.
“We realize that we cannot move forward if we do not help people with access to energy. So, we move into this sector with the aim of strengthening the private sector to take the lead in the dissemination of renewable energy products around the country,” he said.
Gyeabour added, “Together we believe that we can make this work, but not overnight, because we believe that if we keep the LEAP Network going until 2030, we will help give the citizens access to renewable energy.”
Emmanuel Aziebor, Program Manager, Light UP Liberia at Mercy Corps, also said that the organization hopes to reduce poverty by extending solar energy to villages.
Aziebor said Mercy Corps, in its renewable energy push, has been supporting businesses that retail solar equipment and appliances that use clean energy.
LEAP president, Royston Gbedia acknowledged members of the network for their hard work.
Mr. Gbedia promised to work with stakeholders, including businesses, NGO secretariats to promote the sector and to develop the market for renewable energy and its products.
Gbedia is the chief executive officer of Sjedi Green Energy, a 100 percent Liberian-owned low-carbon development company.
“Our quest to make renewable energy products affordable and available in the country, while we are still in the early stage, LEAP network intends to be a platform to connect, share, inform and incorporate people in the renewable sector,” he added.
Gbedia then promised to support skill building, train renewable energy technology, business advice and financing energy startup.
LEAP network officials that were inducted into office are Royston Gbedia, president; Karnus J. Hayes, vice president and Bill Z. Johnson, general secretary.