Sierra Leone is to install its first independent power project, a 57MW heavy oil-fired plant.
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, today announced it has committed $27 million (£22.2m) to support the project and mobilised a further $109 million (£90m) of funding from other institutions.
The country’s power sector is suffering after decades of war, poverty and under-investment in its generation, transmission and distribution systems. Less than 15% of the population currently have access to electricity.
According to the IFC, the transmission system is very inefficient, wasting around 38% of its power – one of the worst loss rates in Africa. It has the effect of keeping people in the dark even if they are in an area where they could potentially receive power.
The new plant will add 60% generation capacity to the grid, offer opportunities for private investment and is essential in supporting the country’s post-Ebola economic recovery.
Vera Songwe, IFC Director for West and Central Africa, said: “Private sector investors require tailored solutions to make large, long term power sector investments in Sierra Leone, where less than 15% of the population has access to electricity.
“IFC’s ability to leverage products and advice across the World Bank Group reduces risk and helps mobilize investment in countries where we are most needed and the policy environment is robust.” The plant will be situated just outside the capital city of Freetown.