Ministry of Energy to tackle Energy Poverty in Rural
Communities
 
By Lahai Kpaka
The Minister of Energy, together with the UK Government Department of International Development (DFID) and United Nations
Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has on Tuesday the 29th of November, 2016 launched the Rural Renewable Energy Project
(RREP) at the Sierra Light House, Aberdeen in Freetown to support rural electrification that will benefit at least half a million people
in the next four years in Sierra Leone.
The Rural Renewable Energy Project (RREP) is a four year project that would be implemented from 2016 to 2020 by DFID which
will develop a minimum of 90 mini-grids, powered with renewable energy that will serve as many communities. The project will
initially electrify 50 rural communities in 2017 and develop mini-grids that will be operated by local entrepreneurs. By extension,
with assurance to ensure Stakeholders’ ownership towards the implementation of the RREP, there is a Steering Committee already
set up that comprises of various Stakeholders from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, (MoHS), Ministry of Local Government
and Rural Development (MLGRD), Electricity and water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) with the Secretariat been provided by the
United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). 
Speaking during the launching of the said project, Amb Henry Macauley intimated the British High Commissioner and Stakeholders
that energy is a pivotal element for economic development. He noted that as this project embraces the President Agenda for
Prosperity and at the same time indicated in the President Priority Recovery, H.E Ernest Bai Koroma is trying within the confines of
constraints in the energy sector to come out with creative ideas and initiatives to enhance electrification throughout the country. 

He took into consideration the President’s Priority Recovery on energy which according to him is the ultimate vision of H.E Bai
Koroma to electrify all provincial headquarter towns in the country. He intimated stakeholders on the developmental strive of the
government on renewable energy installation in the country, noting that it would drastically reduce noise pollution, create job
opportunities and greatly improves on the economic lives of the people in local communities.   
He commended the British High Commissioner, especially the UK government for been supportive to the energy sector in Sierra
Leone, through the implementation of the RREP for local inhabitants in rural communities.  He underscored the need for DFID to
implement the said project which according to him “it will create a platform for private sector inclusion and as well provides
sustainable solution for rural electrification”, he affirmed.
Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington disclosed that Sierra Leone was the first country to
sign a compact agreement with the UK Government on Renewable Energy. He therefore expressed his support to the
government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Energy to implement the RREP.
He noted that since energy is one of the President’s Priorities, “Thirty Four Million Pound and Half have been set aside to
implement this PROJECT”, he confirmed.  
He maintained that under his reign as High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, he would ensure that private investors on renewable
energy from UK partner with the Ministry of Energy to ensure sustainable rural electrification in the country.


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