Gambia: 44 More Rural Settlements to Get Electricity

At least 44 more Gambian communities are billed to benefit from an electricity project as part of the government's expansion strategy of this vital social amenity. The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh, who made the disclosure at the recent state opening of the National Assembly, said a contract has been signed for the expansion and extension of electricity to these communities in rural Gambia. He informed that site works are already in progress to finalise survey design and other logistics. "It is envisaged that 44 other settlements will benefit from this project extension," he affirmed, disclosing further that a number of power generation and distribution projects have already been embarked upon in collaboration with development partners. These, he pointed out, include the West Coast Region electrification project, which is 85% complete, "The Venezuela project, which entails the installation and rehabilitation of transformer stations, conductors and distribution panels, has had its first phase already being commissioned and operational," he informed.

The Gambian leader elucidated further that the Rural Electrification Extension Project, which has the objective of improving power generation and transmission systems in the rural areas, also includes the installation of HFO Generation Sets. Jammeh however noted that the energy sector still remains a challenge despite massive investments in the sector over the past years with the acquisition of new generators and building of a new power station in Brikama. These investments, according to him, are dwarfed by the ever increasing demand for electricity both for domestic and industrial use.

"Notwithstanding, we shall continue to pursue policies and strategies to expand electricity generation to ensure more reliable and affordable electricity supplies for domestic and industrial use," he assured.

Kabada electrification project

The Gambian leader also informed lawmakers that this project includes the extension of the medium voltage from Soma in the Lower River Region and the installation of 3x50Kva transformers for the electrification of four villages namely Sare Musa, Missino Sano, Bajonki and Sambundu in the Kabada area. "Project works in these areas have been completed and customers are being assisted to apply for service," he added.

EDAEP

Further highlighting his government's activities in the energy sector, President Jammeh explained that the Energy Development and Access Expansion Project (EDAEP) is a US$6M project supported by OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). The scope of works for this project, he said, includes design review, material procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of a 32 KM 33KV line, 33KM/11KV Feeders and low voltage networks for 10 villages namely Bafuloto, Makumbaya, Kubariko, Galoya, Kubuneh, Kunkujang Jattaya, Mandinari, Kerewan, Darusalam and Daranka. "A contract has been signed with Global Trading Group N.V and construction material is expected soon. The 33/11KV substation civil work is completed," he said.

The president also informed of the US$444.000.00 project, which he said, was co-funded by his government and the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). Towards, the actualisation of this project, The Gambian leader hinted that an invitation for bids has already been launched and evaluation of the tender has also been completed.

11MW Kotu Power Plant Expansion Project

This Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) funded project, for a period of 24 months, according to the Gambian leader, has a scope of works including design review, material procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of an 11MW engine at Kotu Power station. Portable water supply

In this domain, President Jammeh revealed that projects such as the Gunjur Rural Water Supply and Kotu Ring Water Supply are to improve water supply in the peri-urban area. "Works include the construction of water treatment plants, the elevated tank and distribution piping system all of which are near completion and preparations for commissioning and handing over are already in progress," he stated.

"As we seek to ensure availability, affordability and sustainability of energy supply in general, the government of The Gambia promotes diversification of energy sources. To this end, government has approved the renewable Energy Law in December, 2013. The law provides incentives for both local and foreign investors to invest in The Gambia's energy sector," the president informed.

Through the support of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, he said, the Renewable Energy National Action Plan will be developed. "The Action Plan would help in setting achievable renewable energy targets. In addition to the above developments, the Ministry of Energy with support from the UNDP is currently reviewing the National Energy Policy and action Plan," he concluded.

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