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Gambia: Stakeholders Convene Forum On Renewable Energy Investment

Gambia: Stakeholders Convene Forum On Renewable Energy Investment

photo by:FrontPageAfrica

As the Gambia embarks on the journey to implement the sustainable energy for all, stakeholders and other partners of the government such as GEF and UNIDO are meeting in Banjul to discuss on the Global Environment Facility (GEF) 6 which will be implementing soon and as well as validate the renewable energy investment strategy for the Gambia.

A two days synergy which began yesterday at a local hotel in Kololi would enable organisers get the views, wishes and aspirations of all the stakeholders to formulate a project that will help support the operationalization of the Sustainable Energy for All Action Agenda.

Speaking at the occasion, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Momodou O. Njie said that The Gambia is so far a non petroleum producing country. He said our high dependence on thermal generators for electricity supply is not sustainable and has been costing the economy dearly in terms of foreign exchange.

He added that an assessment of the electricity supply situation reveals that over 95 percent of electricity consumed in the country is produced from thermal generators, which are petroleum products based.

"The availability of adequate, reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of energy in particular modern energy services is crucial for the socio economic development of the country," he said, adding that the Coalition government of The Gambia accords high priority to the energy sector in its development agenda. He said in a bid to change the situation, the government over the years has been exploring ways and means to reduce the country's high dependency on petroleum products for power generations. "This is why the need to look inward to make best use of the indigenous energy resources, called renewable energy, has become prominent in the government's search for solutions to the electricity problems of the country," he said.

PS Njie stated that the Gambia was among the first group of countries to join the SE4ALL and did not waste time to develop the sustainable energy for all Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus. He calls on the participants to be critical of the document, so as to have an excellent renewable energy investment strategy document that will judiciously guide the country's investment in renewable energy.

The representative from UNIDO, Mr. Alois Mhlanga also speaking at the Occasion said that, The Gambia is now working towards implementing GEF 6, the UNIDO project supporting The Gambia to create conducive environment for the deployment of renewable energy. He said they also supported the development of sustainable energy for all Action Agenda and investment procedures and the formulation of renewable energy law.

Omar Bah, representative of the GEF Focal Point in The Gambia, spoke at length on the importance of the forum. He said the Gambia government in partnership with development partners such as GEF and UNIDO are implementing projects in the domain of renewable energy.

The Gambia, he added, has recognised the need and over the years taken courageous steps towards the development of an institutional framework for renewable energy development to diversify the energy sector to support a rapidly growing industrial sector.

Mr. Bah revealed that the Gambia is one of the countries in the sub-region to benefit from the Global Environment Fund (GEF) grant of about US$1.8 million which is aimed at promoting renewable energy base mini-grids for productive uses in the rural areas of the Gambia.
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