Saturn V carrying Apollo 11

The Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) is mandated by its Legislation to develop in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy and other stakeholders a Rural Energy Strategy and Master Plan for Liberia. The Master Plan shall be formulated on the basis of well-defined project selection and prioritization criteria designed to ensure enhanced energy access with equity, sustainable development and optimal use of indigenous and renewable resources, and ensure that these are integrated into the national energy Master Plan. This document has been prepared in fulfillment of this very important mandate.

Recently we suffered one of the most tragic civil wars in modern African history, and then, just when we had substantially recovered and begun to grow our economy the Ebola crisis came. It is once again time to rebuild our nation, to recover productivity and growth, to strengthen our resilience and reduce vulnerability with sustainable public finances and real results. Energy is one of the key elements and priorities for our recovery and for our development. Together with roads and communication, energy is critical for economic activity, for health, for education and for security.

Liberia has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world and, at the same time, one of the highest electricity tariffs globally. It is a major impediment to growth and development in health, education and security of the people, a huge restraint economic activity and job creation.

Some progress has been made in Monrovia. With donors’ contributions the Government is electrifying the city of Monrovia and its environs, and with the rehabilitation of Mount Coffee we expect that electricity will become more affordable and that many diesel generators and consumers currently outside of the grid will  be connected to the main grid sooner than later.

On the other hand, we cannot ignore and leave the rest of the country without electricity. It is therefore imperative to invest in rural electrification because we still have to electrify the cities and towns in the rest of the country taking advantage of the vast renewable energy resource potential, where affordable electricity is supplied to support social and economic activities thus leading to productive uses, and job creation. This Rural Energy Master Plan serves as a strategic roadmap for providing access to improved energy services as well as integrating energy into rural development programs and activities in Liberia. Identifying viable projects that can be maintained by the private sector is the purpose of this Master Plan. Financing the implementation of this Master Plan will require a combination of grants, concessional finance, and private sector investment in order to achieve the 35% rural electrification target in 2030.

We need a consolidated effort of all stakeholders – the Government, development partners, civil society and the private sector – for the implementation of this Rural Energy Master Plan to increase energy access and ensure social and economic development in rural Liberia.