Posted by: APO | 28 January 2008

UK BOOSTS SIERRA LEONE ENERGY SECTOR

DATE: 24 January 2008

UK BOOSTS SIERRA LEONE ENERGY SECTOR

Coinciding with the visit of the President of Sierra Leone to the UK, Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for International Development today announced two programmes of assistance to Sierra Leone totalling £36 million. The programmes will provide support to the energy sector and the National Revenue Authority.

Douglas Alexander said:

“Sierra Leone has made huge progress since the civil war ended a decade ago, but the Government is struggling to raise enough revenue to fund basic services, like healthcare and education and is still heavily dependent on aid.

“The UK’s support to the National Revenue Authority will increase domestic revenues by the equivalent of £10m a year from 2011, and will also decrease the cost of doing business in Sierra Leone. By modernising the way it does business, and increasing revenues, the government will have more money available to spend on providing healthcare, education and basic services to its citizens.”

However, a growing private sector requires a reliable electricity supply. Currently in the capital Freetown, generation for the power grid has almost completely collapsed and rural areas have no electricity at all. If averaged out over the whole population the power generated in 2007 was only about 2 Watts, equivalent to one light-bulb per 30 people.

Douglas Alexander continued:

“I am pleased to announce that the UK is providing £20 million to support the building up of the energy sector in Sierra Leone. Our money, along with that of other donors will mean that electricity availability will increase at least ten-fold. It should provide a sustainable electricity supply to the one million residents of Freetown and provide lighting and power for health centres, water pumping stations, colleges and police stations. I’m delighted that the UK can help Sierra Leone as it travels along the road to prosperity.”

Notes to editors

  1. The UK is the largest bilateral development partner in Sierra Leone, working with government, civil society organisations, the media and the private sector.

     
     

  2. Sierra Leone is the poorest country in the world according to the UNDP Human Development Index. It has the highest rate of child mortality in the world, and the worst levels of access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Sierra Leone’s per capita generation in 2006 was only 8kWh. If averaged out over the whole population the current generation power is only about 2 Watts, or equivalent to only about one light-bulb per 30 people!

  4. In 2007 Sierra Leone had the fairest and most peaceful election in Africa, and the new government is keen to tackle poverty and fight corruption.
  5. DFID gives £40 million a year in aid to Sierra Leone and, since 2001, has spent £210.5m. Since the end of the war, DFID focussed its support on re-building the government and sustaining peace. Now that the country is peaceful, DFID is focussing efforts towards delivering heath care, clean water, education and helping the country’s economy to grow.

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