The Hydro: What Happened to the 1000 Megawatt Plan?


Sometime around 2008 when plans for the rehabilitation of the  Mount Coffee Hydro-electric Plant were being concretized, the World Bank indicated that they were prepared to help the government raise the money for an 800 to 1000
megawatt hydro  capacity.  We remember distinctly calling in an editorial on the Liberian government to take very seriously this indication from the Bank of its willingness to work with us to achieve that goal.

Either some of our  development partners did not think Liberia deserved that, or our officials did not work hard enough toward that goal.  Last Saturday the President settled for 60 megawatts–not even the original 64 megawatt capacity that was installed a half century ago, in 1964.  In 2008, the experts were saying that the current energy demand in Monrovia alone was 200 megawatts, and another 600 in the rest of the country, including the iron ore mining operations.
Now we have to settle for a meager 60 megawatts, promised by the first quarter of 2016.

Was this the result of mean spiritedness on the part of some of our development partners, or was it the failure of Liberian diplomacy, determination and hard work? One of our biggest diplomatic disappointments was United States President George Bush's visit to Liberia on February 26, 2008  when, after earlier faithfully promising to help us restore the hydro, he announced that he would send us several thousand textbooks for Liberian schools!  Diplomatically, all we could do was to say "Thank you, Mr. President."  But is that why he visited America's oldest and most trusted African friend?

But let's remember that the Americans, who won their war for independence in 1776,  have made a monumental success of their country, making it, by the end of World War II in 1945 the world's first super power.  They started off on the right footing–with a corps of serious-minded,  selfless, visionary and hardworking leaders  who were determined to make a success of their nationalistic  venture.  One leading American anthem captured the spirit of the times in its
description of the American Founders: "who more than self their country loved."

True, there were and remained very serious problems in America—among them slavery and racism.  But embedded in the American Constitution was the provision for amendments that paved the way for the gradual development of "a more perfect union."  Today America has its first Black President.

Why have we digressed from the Hydro to talk about America? Because we have to ask ourselves how serious are we Liberians as a people?  Can we say, as the early American leaders said and demonstrated, that we love our country more than we love ourselves? that we are prepared to work THE HARDEST for our country to make it a success?  Do we truly love our own people more than we love ourselves and our foreign friends?  Are we prepared to do everything possible to encourage, lift up and promote our own people first, to ensure their success at whatever good and constructive they undertake?

Well, whatever our answers to these questions, we must admit that THESE are the things that the Americans do, and that is why they are counted the world's most successful nation–a country that most people around the world admire and want at least to visit–or stay in.

So the Americans have built a great and rich nation and they have every right to do whatever they want with their money. Liberia, too, is a country that people love to visit and reside in. Why? Because  Liberia is rich, and that  Liberians, leaders and people, for reasons difficult to understand, favor the foreigner over
and against their own people.  No nation with that kind of disposition can ever prosper.

So the day we decide we need a 1000 megawatt hydro, and are prepared to work the hardest to get it, a 1000 megawatt hydro will be ours. That is the same for any goal we set for ourselves, be it self-sufficiency in food, quality  education for our children, or anything else.

Bottom line, we Liberians have got to become a more serious people, more loving to and supportive of one another.  These are among the basic ingredients of national  success.  Without it, forget it.


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