FREETOWN, December 13, 2017: The World Bank Group on November 17, 2017 approved Additional Financing in the amount of US$59.57 million to West African Power Pool (WAPP) – Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea (CLSG) Power Interconnection Project, which aims to increase electricity supply in the four participating countries.
The project will interconnect the four participating countries into the 225 kV (kilo volt) regional energy market in West Africa, and will also enable the connection to the WAPP of the planned hydropower plants in Bumbuna Extension, Yiben and Bekongor in Sierra Leone and Mount Coffee in Liberia and other future generation projects.
The Project will provide residents of Greater Monrovia Area in Liberia; Bo, Kenema and the Western Areas in Sierra Leone; and the Forest Region of Guinea, with improvements in power supplies in the short-term. It also pursues a regional infrastructure developmental approach that will provide over the medium- to long-term adequate electricity to the people of the four countries in a more efficient and cost-effective way, boosting economic and social development.
Despite the West African region’s large energy endowment, the per capita consumption of electricity is among the lowest in the world with approximately 171 kWh per capita in 2010. To address these challenges, the 15-member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) put in place the WAPP – a cooperative power pooling mechanism for integrating national power system operations into a unified regional electricity market – with the expectation that it will, over the medium to long term, assure citizens of a stable and reliable electricity supply at affordable costs.
WAPP identified the CLSG Interconnection Project, which aims to interconnect the four countries into the WAPP System, and help develop the least cost hydropower resources in these countries. The economic development impact of this transmission line is expected to be significant.
“This project will help transform the domestic power system in Sierra Leone, as it will significantly contribute to building the country’s national transmission backbone,” said Parminder Brar, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone. “The project will further boost regional electricity trade and contribute to the creation of an integrated power trade market within the West African Power Pool. It will further contribute to the overall regional agenda for the development of efficient energy trade and is fully aligned with the Government’s strategy for the development of the electricity sector and the expansion of electricity services to the population.”
A 1,349km high-voltage transmission interconnection will be constructed between the four countries. Once the line is operational, it is expected to facilitate in the short and medium term, the import of cheaper electricity from the region, as well as enable in the medium and longer term, the development of Sierra Leone’s hydropower potential. In addition, it will provide access to electricity to large users (mines and others) that have until now had to generate their own electricity.
The original WAPP CLSG Regional Interconnection Project, jointly supported by the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the German development Bank Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbrau (KfW), was approved in 2012 with the financing of US$476 million. In the original WAPP CLSG project, the financing to Sierra Leone was provided by AfDB and EIB. This new round of financing is provided jointly by the World Bank (to Liberia and Sierra Leone) and KfW (to Liberia). It will be used to bridge the financing gap caused by exchange rate fluctuations, as well as delays and increased costs of bids brought on by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in 2014.
Implemented in parallel with ongoing and planned World Bank projects in the country – such as the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project (ESURP) and the Western Area Power Generation Project (WAPGP) – the WAPP CLSG project aims to boost overall access to electricity and strengthen the energy sector in Sierra Leone. It also facilitates the integration of renewables, in line with the World Bank Group Climate Change Action Plan (2016).
For more information about the World Bank’s work in Sierra Leone visit: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/sierraleone
For more information on the World Bank’s work in Africa, please visit: www.worldbank.org/afr