20 January 2014

Liberia: EU Executive - Affordable Access to Energy Reduces Poverty

The European Union (EU) through its Deputy Director-General for Development and Cooperation, Mr. Klaus Rudischhauser, has alarmed over the hike in the prices of energy in Liberia.

According to him, reliable and affordable access to energy remains a major problem to the Government and people of Liberia.

He said affordable energy must be provided to citizens in Liberia to help reduce the high rate of poverty.

He was speaking on Friday, January 16, 2014 when he addressed a news conference in Monrovia.

Mr. Rudischhauser was in Liberia on an official mission to hold discussions with senior Liberian government officials and donor partners in the energy sector.

During his visit, the EU executive met with authorities of the Ministries of Lands, Mines and Energy, Finance, and relevant stakeholders in the energy sector.

He told reporters that access to "affordable and sustainable energy remains an enabling factor" for infrastructure and economic developments in post conflict Liberia.

He said the high cost of electricity must be addressed by both the government and donor partners. Mr. Rudischhauser pointed out that sustainable energy can be attained in Liberia through coordination and cooperation between the donor partners and the Liberian government.

He maintained that the "availability of affordable supply of energy to households, institutions, and enterprises" will help increase productivity in the economy and the provision of more job opportunities.

He said better services in the health, education and agriculture sectors will also be improved if the cost of energy is reduce in the country.

"The Government of Liberia (GOL) has chosen energy to be the most priority for the next 7 years of cooperation with the EU. We had discussions with the Minister of Energy and all the other donors who are providing assistance to Liberia in the field of energy.

Reliable access to energy is still one of the big problems that this country's government has identified. Energy is key for economic activities, transportation, health, education and agriculture. Access to energy is still limited here. The prices are extremely high because the source of energy is mainly destroyed," he stated.

The EU Deputy Director-General for Development and Cooperation affirmed his institution's continuous support and commitment to the overall development of Liberia.

He said 217M euros have been enveloped by the EU for the energy sector of Liberia.

The EU is one of the biggest donors for the energy sector in Liberia with a present contribution of more than 65M Euro which is equivalent to US$90M.

According to him, the EU is currently discussing with authorities of the Liberian government for additional support to be allocated over the next seven years.

Mr. Rudischhauser pointed out that the expenditure of the money will depend on "detail discussion and coordination" between both the GOL and donor partners.

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