27 January 2014

Liberia: Back On Course - Liberia Moves Toward Sustained Energy

Photo: Liberia Government
Remains of the looted Mt. Coffee Hydro Plant outside Monrovia.

Liberia is steadily reclaiming its infrastructural credentials lost to almost 14 years of civil war evidenced by ongoing rapid resuscitations in the governance structures of the country as well as the economic and social sector.

After years of dangling efforts to getting the energy sector back on track due to lack of financial means, the country has set itself back on course with the official groundbreaking program for the construction of the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant.

Held last weekend and performed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, it aims to jumpstart prospects for more economic boom that will bring prosperity and create more job opportunities for Liberians.

It was one of those mind-burgling occasions attended by key players of the economic and social revitalization of the country.

Finance Minister, who recently won the African Minister of Year award offered by London-based Banker Magazine and the main advocate for revamping the main energy hub of the country, did not hide his emotions at the program attended by array of Liberian government officials.

In his remarks, Minister Amara Konneh, said the project was an outcome of President Sirleaf's bold leadership and an important centerpiece of her flagship development agenda, the "Agenda for Transformation".

"The ground breaking of the Mount Coffee hydro is an important step to bringing power to more people, across the country. Part-funded by significant investment from the Government of Liberia and a key element of its public sector investment strategy, it will mean a boost to businesses and light manufacturing industries, increasing employment opportunities."

According to him, the GOL had infused roughly 45 million to the energy sector, a

key development priority of President Sirleaf.

"it is very important that we do all we can to ensure Mount Coffee is a success even if we have to cut foreign travels, gas, scratch cards and recurrent spending and save money to invest in project like these", Konneh said. "For those of our people who need to understand the extent to which this country was destroyed and the bold step we are taking to have our infrastructure revitalize, come to Mount Coffee."

Records put the cost to build the Hydro during the 1960s at 80 million but to have it renovated is estimated at about US$250-300 million, thus indicating that the project is not a cheap one.

He thanked all partners who have contributed towards not only the rehabilitation of Mt. Coffee hydro but also in other sectors within the economy and the society at large.

Development partners including Germany, Norway and the European Union reaffirmed their supports and commitments to Liberia development. The leader unveiled the design of the hydro and declared construction works should be sustained to meet its December 2015 completion date.

For her part, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has assured Liberians that by December 2015 the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant will be fully completed and that it will impact them in many different ways.

"So many people have worked so hard to make this day a reality- the LEC folks, the Ministers, the workers that you see standing around. the Legislators and our partners, have all pushed so hard for us to be here to start the process of the restoration of power through the Mt. Coffee Hydro power plant," she added.

The Project Director, Mr Randal Enns assured that by 2015, the hydro will be in full swing and its impact in the economy will be felt across the country.

Ambassador of Norway, Hege Hertzberg said that the government and the people of Norway are impressed with the level of progress been made so far by the government in ensuring that Liberia becomes a middle income country by 2030.

"Madam President, Norway is so impressed by your leadership, the dedication you show during this extremely difficult time on reconstruction, not only in Mt. Coffee but the whole of Liberia. We are very proud to call ourselves your friends Madam President, and therefore I would like to take this opportunity to confirm Norwegian promise to support your endeavours in the energy sector and especially in the reconstruction of Mt. Coffee," he said.

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