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Bursting the Bubble; Kanja Sesay Delivers on South-eastern Energy

He may have been provoked by many within his inner government circles, home town of Bo and among comedians of Sierra Leone as the Energy Minister with a power bank in his pocket. Nonetheless, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, is Sierra Leone’s most experienced and action driven minister with a zest for project completion pooling from his experience in he field of development as a projects officer at Catholic Relief Services after teaching for several years at the Prince of Wales and Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary schools.

From the heart of the capital of sierra Leone, Freetown, decade old evacuation lines that had caused electricity emergencies and upheavals have been changed from the not-fit-for-purpose lines to much more power evacuable lines fit to deliver energy required in much needed locations in capacities that had overturned an unintended deemed light experience, to a stable and normal voltage capable transmission that permits the use of home utensils and industrial machinery at their optimum required voltage for better operations. To date, western area’s peak load electricity consumption has soared from 51 megawatts to 85 megawatts.

The once previously serving chairman of the executive committee of the Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (SLANGO) and a member of the board of directors of Sierra Leone Export and Investment Corporation (SLEDIC), knows all too well what it takes to complete projects in a timely but prudent manner. Haven set the pace at the capital city on overseeing rehabilitation at Bumbuna Hydro dam sites, the Turkish boat lighting conversion and evacuation lines, Kanja Sesay now turns his eyes to delivering in the provinces.

The Transco CLSG electricity projected by the West African Power pool (WAPP), was inherited in his ministry.

The WAPP itself, was a decision (A/DEC.5/12/99) of the Twenty-Second Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for regional power supply. The very first decision was followed by decision A/DEC.18/01/06, in the Twenty-Ninth Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Niamey. They then adopted the Articles of Agreement for WAPP organization and functions. The mission of the decisions and formation was to “promote and develop power generation and transmission infrastructures as well as to coordinate power exchange among the ECOWAS Member states”.

WAPP’s vision seeks to “integrate the national power systems into a unified regional electricity market with the ultimate goal of providing in the medium and long term, a regular and reliable energy at competitive cost to the citizenry of the ECOWAS region”.

Here we are, WAPP with variance CLSG entered Sierra Leone and Kenema district with stem from Kailahun via Teelorma, Bekongor, Yiben but also spiking from manor junction to Bumbuna (Substations). Adequate monitoring and visits was upped in concert with CLSG partners the ministry opined. Today, 80% of substations for CLSG-WAPP are completed. In fact, The minister of Energy and power, Kanja Sesay had commissioned some stations with last mile usage now in homes across Kenema-Bo and Freetown through the energy distribution service EDSA. It is understood Kono will be next. However, the cost for electricity will need reviewing in line with the main objectives, aims and vision of WAPP.

Just before we dreamt of WAPP coming this closer, UNIDO was at it with selected towns solar electrification. Today several district head quarter towns and strategic location benefit from those input by UNIDO and the government. One key location is Moyamba Junction, soon Tiama and many more through the government solar initiatives at government hospitals across several districts including Kabala, Port Loko, Moyamba, Pujehun, Kailahun, and Lakka.

Delivering on south-eastern electricity, Moyamba is due to be turned on any time from now. BO-Kenema is on course with an added solar field of mini-grid along the Bo-Kenema highway, which will complement Dodo and the CLSG light for surrounding villages. Kono now enjoys stable and consistent light powering from the CLSG/WAPP substation. Any interruption according to the distribution company is likely due to last mile reach maintenance and expansion with power restoration after repairs.

Over the years, government has increased electricity supply from 16% in 2007 to 32% come 2023. With the prospect of six more construction of mini-grids with funding from the Japanese government, the percentage increase in electricity access will be way more than 36% in early 2023 irrespective of the system of governance in office.

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