27 November 2013, Monrovia – The African Development Banks (ADB) has approved the Mano River Union electricity interconnection project with approximately 150,000 Liberians benefiting from the projects in 28 localities in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Nimba counties.
The project, which is approximately U$510 million, will also create 5,000 direct and 2,000 indirect jobs, according to a fact sheet provided by both the Liberian government and the ADB. The project is expected to increase electrocution rages from 2.6% in Liberia and see the importation of 20MW for use by various households and businesses.
At the singing ceremony yesterday, both Finance Minister Amara Konneh and the ADB Representative Margaret Kilo expressed optimism about the long awaited Cote d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) project which, they said, if implemented, will ease the cost of electricity in the MRU basin. Minister Konneh said Liberia has earmarked U$1.67 million in the project, which has an interest rate of 75% with a 10-year grace period and 40-year maturity (high Concessional).
“This project is part of the wider West Africa Power Pool project, and it seeks to connect the national grid of the four countries through the construction of a 1,357 -km-long double circuit high voltage (225KV) line, costing U$203million for the Liberia component,” the minster said. He said the construction of the line is part of the backbone of the MRU countries and the priority project of the WAPP master plan, which will help establish a dynamic electric power market in the West African sub-region and secure power supply for the MRU countries.
The project, he said will be implemented by the Liberia Electricity Corporation under the subversion of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy. On the question of linkages to growth, Minister Konneh said the project “falls within our medium term strategy of developing infrastructure to attract private sector investment, particularly in light manufacturing, and ultimately create jobs”.
For her part, Mrs. Kilo said the project, together with the Fish Town – Harper Road Paving, forms a critical component of the ADB’s MRU Initiative, which focuses on investments in regional infrastructure, particularly roads and energy. She said the MRU initiative will increase the potential for inclusive growth and employment generation in the sub-region, thereby addressing a key driver of fragility, and investing in the long term future of the MRU and West Africa.