Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the UAE, Rashid Sesay, recalled that during his courtesy call on the Dean of the Diplomatic Corp in the UAE, he spoke about the challenges of the energy sector in Sierra Leone, adding that that meeting led to his meeting with Chairman AINowais, who according to him, is one of the biggest players in the renewable energy sector in the UAE.
In his presentation, Chairman AINowais said they were very interested in investing in Sierra Leone’s energy sector. He said energy was the driving growth of any economy, adding that without energy it was difficult to grow an economy. He noted that they were now looking at investing in different African countries, having already undertaken a lot of investments in the Middle East.
“We are looking at Sierra Leone as a place for investment and I am here to explore the investment opportunities in the energy sector. We realized Sierra Leone has the potential and the need for growing its economy by investing in energy. The project will benefit Sierra Leone by generating power and expanding its base, helping to grow the economy and will also provide comfort to Sierra Leoneans,” he said.
Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, said that during his visit to the UAE, he had the opportunity of meeting the Chairman who was keen on energy provision around the world. He disclosed that they both spoke about the general energy situation in Sierra Leone with particular reference to the Western Area Generation Project, which the new government inherited, but was facing challenges after the World Bank, being one of the key players, withdrew from the project.
“During our discussions, Chairman AINowais got to know about the project and has expressed interest in looking at it again, so we agreed that he should visit Sierra Leone and that is why he is here with his team with whom we have done preliminary discussions at the Ministry. His team is now working with my technical team to see how we are going to progress from here,” he said.
In his response, President Bio said that energy is an important backbone for any economy and that the country could not embark on development, which was in dire need, without reliable power supply, adding that his government would welcome any project, be it government or private partnership, which would work towards creating a very reliable power supply in the country.
He mentioned that at the moment quite a huge part of the country was without energy supply but that government had been able to stabilize supply within the city, saying that the shortage of energy in the country was a longstanding problem which his government was determined to address by providing reliable energy supply.
“From what I have heard, you have shown interest and we are also interested. So, whatever we can do to support the ambition and mutual interest, we can work together and make sure we provide energy to our people. We are also ready to do anything to create a situation where the tariff can go down for our people so it is cheaper, cleaner and sustainable,” he said.