Liberia: 22 Mw of power for 1.3 million grossly insufficient

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

09 June 2015, Heidenheim — President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says electricity is cardinal and important for Liberia’s growth, economic revitalization and reconstruction drive. The Liberian leader said the potential for doing business and experiencing growth is significantly tied to the availability of electricity and other sources of power, which will propel the economy and enhance production.

According to a dispatch from Munich, Germany, President Sirleaf was speaking when she visited the VOITH hydro manufacturing facilities in Germany where she has gone to see firsthand the level of work being done on three power turbines and other parts for installation at the Mount Coffee hydro plant in Liberia. She stressed that the current 22 megawatts of power being used in Monrovia and its environs with a population of about 1.3 million was grossly insufficient and inadequate to address the level of investment and development that the country has seen after the Liberian civil crises.

The Liberian leader said the Mount Coffee hydro with 80 megawatts of power supply and the construction of additional mini hydro plants for the supply of electricity in other parts of the country will greatly impact growth and development in a major way and transform the lives of the people.

President Sirleaf emphasized that in addition to the Mount Coffee hydro project and other mini hydro plants in rural areas, the country has made regionally efforts with its neighbors in the supply of electricity through the West Africa Power Pool to about 18 communities that share borders with Ivory Coast. The project is being worked out with Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast for the supply of electricity from the Ivory Coast to the other Mano River Union countries.

She said without major infrastructure like power, roads and water, other development objectives like the effective running of schools, improvement in the health sectors, the country’s agriculture program and other meaningful projects will not be successful. At the same time, the Liberian President emphasized the need for human resource capacity development through vocational training of Liberians at the VOITH training institute in Germany for the management of the hydro and other power sources being built across the country.

Welcoming President Sirleaf and delegation to the company’s facilities, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VOITH Holding, Dr. Hubert Lienhard, pledged his company’s preparedness and determination to work with the Liberian government in making sure that the Mount Coffee hydro is up and running in an effective and sustainable way.

Dr. Lienhard said energy and power supply is an essential component of propelling growth and the most reliable and stable source for any industrial sector and it’s a fundamental pre-requisite for investments and improving the standard of its people. He said VOITH remains engaged with Liberia and want to ensure safe, renewable, sustainable and reliable energy source to the population through the construction and operational capacity of the Mount Coffee hydro and the need for mini hydro plants across the country in the future.

Dr. Lienhard said currently VOITH hydro power is manufacturing three power turbines for installation at the Mount Coffee hydro plant in Liberia and said the first of the three turbines is ready to be sent to Liberia in December 2015 with the second and third turbines to be sent between February and March 2016 for installation. He noted that the contract for a fourth turbine will be signed shortly to start its manufacturing. Dr. Lienhard said the company is trying to make sure that a 95-ton powerhouse crane is to be sent to Liberia in mid-July 2015 to start operations.

Speaking earlier, the former President of the Federal Republic of Germany and former International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Dr. Horst Kohler, praised President Sirleaf for the level of development and peace she has restored to her country and her role at the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda that brings hope to the people of Liberia and the world.

Dr. Kohler said the partnership between VOITH and the Liberian Government in the rehabilitation and resuscitation of the Mount hydro plant is a welcome venture that will help eradicate poverty in Liberia and propel growth. Dr. Kohler said Africa is the new “potential hub” for global development and productivity and noted that Liberia has an important role in that growth, adding that job creation for young Africans is important and must be supported by all.

He said the German business community and manufacturers are prepared to ensure that a new long time engagement is started with the production of local produce on the continent of Africa and a new paradigm be drawn in a global partnership that promotes that new spirit of a win-win situation by all. Later during the day, President Sirleaf and delegation were taken on a tour of the company’s facilities, manufacturing plant, laboratories and training school.

Members of the President Sirleaf’s delegation included, Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo, Liberia’s Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Ethel Davis, the Board Chairman of the Liberia Electricity Corporation Ian Yhap, Deputy Chief of Staff/President’s Delivery Unit, Dr. Clarence Moniba, among others.

The President is in Germany to attend the 41st Summit meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Group of Seven (G-7) nations. The summit takes place from June 7 -8 and will discuss the global economy, trade, security, development policy and foreign affairs. The summit will also look at the upcoming UN Conferences and the UN Post-2015 Agenda, among others.

*Frontpage, Monrovia

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