Sierra Leone is a major producer of gem-quality diamonds. The country is endowed with abundant natural resources in the mining and agriculture sector. Mineral exports and agriculture remain the backbone to Sierra Leone’s economy. These exports have been a principal foreign exchange earner.
Though rich in this resources, the country has historically struggled to manage its exploitation and export since the days of the Civil War and most recently the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic. The country is recovering from the Ebola epidemic which claimed the lives of over 4,000 people, severely impacting the mining sector. Sierra Leone has had to face two major set backs that in the past 20 years that have both impacted the backbone of the economy.
Several reforms have been implemented to encourage the rebuild the sectors in the country and especially the agriculture sector. The government is working to ensure stability of the economy and regain strength in its mining and agriculture sector.
The National Power Authority (NPA) was formerly responsible for providing electricity to Sierra Leone. In recent years the NPA has been undergone privatization, allowing more investment and financial support for projects in the country’s electrical power sector. A Legislation was officially passed to allow the NPA to be unbundled. The NPA has now been divided into two major organizations: The Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC) and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA).
The process of Unbundling is still on going, yet the World Bank and the Ministry of Energy in Sierra Leone are taking major steps in ensuring the success of the new organizations. The current Minister of Energy is a strong advocate for private sector participation, and is in discussion with several potential Independent Power Producers (IPP) for Thermal and Renewable energy (solar, and hydro projects).The World Bank is also planning investments for the Sierra Leone transmission system as well as acquiring a private management contract for EDSA.
These reforms of the various organizations and entities are expected to tackle the challenges of high tariffs and insufficient generation capacity and weak infrastructure in order to revive the power sector.
- Africa Business Central
- USAID: Sierra Leone Energy Sector Overview
- UNDP: National Energy Profile Sierra Leone