(JollofNews) – Gambia and its development partners are stepping up efforts to end the five-decade long electricity crisis. The World (WB) and African Development (ADB) are pushing ahead with a new initiative geared towards supporting President Adama Barrow government to solve the acute power shortages the country is confronted with.
“We are working hard to make sure that people expectations are met. Energy is expensive and takes times to be solved. I met with WB and ADB officials and we discussed a lot about what we can do address this
emergency situation,” Gambia’s Minister for Energy and Petroleum Fafa Sanyang told a group of reporters during a presser held Monday evening at United Nations House in Cape Point, some 7 km away from Banjul.
Over these past months, the tiny West African nation has been going through a severe power crisis that has left many wondering whether the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) is not undermining the new administration. A situation that prompted the collective #OccupyWestfield to stage a demonstration last Sunday despite the revocation of their permit by the police.
Minister Sanyang assured that energy tops government priorities and constitutes one of the key problems the Gambian leader wants to solve for good. “Our ultimate objective is to make energy problems history
for Gambians,” he said.
World Bank Regional Director for West Africa Louise J. Cord, said they held discussions with Preesident Barrow Monday morning centred around the energy situation in The Gambia.
“We all acknowledge that September and October have been difficult months for us. Now things are better with additional energy supply prepared to come on line,” she said.
The WB official further stated that there is already a transmission line from Senegal, allowing 24/7 electricity in Farafenni and additional power supply will be directed to other villages along the
“The donors are very keen to support these efforts as energy is foundation for economic growth,” she told newsmen. “There are other critical donors such as the European Union (EU), EU Investment Bank,
Islamic Development Bank that are also highly present in this sector”
She announced the building of a new power plant that would conect Gambia to the West African subregion, costing US$47 million dollars.
Louise J. Cord said there is a new project coming up, which is going to include solar energy. “Work remains to be done, but there is a path ahead that is well crafted.”
The African Development Bank (ADB) Power Systems Director Batchi Baldeh, said power is indeed a big problem throughout Africa. “In the short term, we have to put an end to the demand-supply gap. No stone
will be left unturned to make sure that energy problem becomes a thing of the post,” he said.
Baldeh, who is a former Managing Director of the country’s power company, renewed ADB commitment to stand behind Gambia govt and NAWEC to make sure that these pressing problems are solved.
“We are part of OMVG transmission line that would bring renewable energy from Guinea. We have invested over US$100 million dollars,” he said.