His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has formally opened the fourth roundtable conference on the country’s energy sector around the theme “Countdown to 2030: Sustainable Energy for All, Energy Transition, and Climate Resilience”.

The conference created a platform for the government, development partners, the media, and civil society to pave the way for the country’s energy challenges.

President Bio expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Energy and the World Bank for organizing the event, acknowledged that sustainable, reliable, and adequate energy was a critical contributor to the transformational development of any society. He also confirmed that attaining sustainable energy for all in Sierra Leone was possible, based on the fact that there were many available sources of renewable energy in the country.

The President said the theme for the roundtable engagement “resonates well with the structure, spirit, and intent of our government’s medium-term national development plan that was recently launched at the Bintumani Conference Center. It is anchored within the timeframe of 2024–2030, and energy availability is one of the key drivers to deliver on the pillars of the plan”.

He said he was convinced that the energy target could be achieved with determination and sincere commitment, backed by honest partnership and devotion from energy sector stakeholders.

“Let us be positive, persistent, and determined to explore every opportunity that science and technology can afford to ensure that Sierra Leone benefits from 21st-century energy solutions for securing universal energy access and transition. Our government remains committed to working with all partners and actors, both national and international, to co-create an eco-system that would facilitate the provision and access to energy for all.

“As engrafted in SDG 7, there can hardly be any meaningful national transformation without the country being energy-sufficient. This implies that our vision for transforming Sierra Leone should also be a vision of Sierra Leone with abundant transformation in energy generation.

“My government welcomes additional investments in the sector by existing operators, development partners, and interested investors. The Ministry of Energy would continue to explore options to enhance the enabling environment,” the President urged.

He called on the gathering to join him seize the moment to reaffirm his government’s commitment to sustainable energy for all, adding that together, they could propel Sierra Leone toward a brighter and more prosperous future.

The World Bank Group Country Director for Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia, Dr Robert Taliercio O’Brien, expressed appreciation to President Bio for inviting him to participate in the roundtable energy stakeholder engagement, disclosing that he was excited to be in the country for the first time.

He emphasized the gains made in the sector in less than ten years, including the country’s efforts at increasing energy from supply from 13.5 percent in 2013 to 36 percent in 2023. He assured of the Bank’s commitment to supporting the country’s energy drive, including the electrification of 500 schools and 200 healthcare centers nationwide.

Ambassador of the United States of America to Sierra Leone, Bryan David Hunt, recognised the critical role sustainable energy would play in the ongoing development of the country’s economy, pointing out that energy was not just a commodity.

“It is the backbone of economic growth, health care improvement, educational advancement, and overall development of the country. In recent years, the United States government has invested significantly in Sierra Leone’s energy sector.

The Ambassador confirmed that after Sierra Leone was re-selected by the MCC Board for the MCC compact programme in December 2023, he would be hosting the MCC team during their visit to advance their assessment of the country’s compact program. He said it was essential that the government and partners identified the roadblocks to the country’s energy needs.

He bemoaned those setbacks that prevented international private sector investment in the sector, adding that the conference could provide a unique opportunity to renew commitment to Sierra Leone’s energy sector development.

Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, reminded the conference of the global adaptation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in January 2016, which, according to him, was followed by the Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. He said the country’s fourth roundtable in March 2024 was indicative of the fact that “we are barely 6 years away from the lofty 2030 deadline”.

Minister Sesay noted that “with the theme, the overall objective of our Energy Sector Roundtable is to provide a platform for discussion among the government of Sierra Leone, technical and financial development partners, civil society, and the private sector on the status of our sector for both electricity access and clean cooking goals”.

Credit – State House Media and Communications Unit


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