EYEAFRICA TV: Brikama, THE GAMBIA:-Gambian President, Adama Barrow has said that his government is aware of the fact that despite significant improvements on access to electricity since 2017, there remains a considerable portion of the population without electricity supply.
“To address this, in collaboration with our development partners, Government will, in the next three years, create access to over 685 communities countrywide,” he said.
According to him, the target is universal access by 2025, which is earlier than the 2030 Sustainable Energy for All target.
President Barrow made the remarks at the launching of the newly installed 20MW power plant costing a staggering $28.4M in Brikama. The project was jointly funded by the government of The Gambia and its development partner, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
IsDB provided $25.2M of the cost, while The Gambia government contributed the remaining balance of $3.2M and the contract was given to STX Heavy Industries of South Korea.
“The increasing demand for power, arising from the expansion of economic activities in the country, also makes it compelling for Government to redouble efforts in the energy sector. The strategy is to gradually replace the old generator sets with reliable ones and maintain a single national grid,” Barrow said.
The Gambian leader added that besides providing sustainable energy for all, it is equally necessary to work towards cost-reflective electricity tariffs in a systematic manner and within the right regulatory framework.
“We remain committed to the socio-economic development objectives as outlined in our National Development Plan (NDP), the AU 2063 Agenda and the AU/EU partnership for Green Transition and Energy Access,” he noted, adding, “the energy sector has a critical role to play for the realisation of these development mileposts.
“To this end, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is establishing an Energy Platform to exploit sustainable energy solutions in order to propel agricultural development, facilitate trade and promote digital inclusion, among other objectives.”
Barrow said the government is also working with development partners to mitigate the effects of climate change, increase renewable energy uptake and improve energy efficiency in homes, institutions and businesses.
“To stir economic growth, we need good roads, bridges, schools and hospitals to name a few examples, and all these developments require regular and reliable electricity supply,” he said, noting that the occasion marks a key milestone for the nation in the long quest for steady power supply.
He further recognized the efforts of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Board and Management of NAWEC and all stakeholders for the success of the project.