SPEECH BY H.E ADAMA BARROW, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE ELECTRICITY EXPANSION PROJECT

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SPEECH BY H.E ADAMA BARROW, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE ELECTRICITY EXPANSION PROJECT,

KWINELLA, KIANG,

28TH NOVEMBER, 2020

Honourable Cabinet Members,

Honourable Members of the National Assembly,

Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,

Service Chiefs,

Senior Government Officials,

Governor, Lower River Region,

District Chiefs, Alkalolu, Religious Leaders,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Members of the Media,

This historic event, held in the heart of Kiang, is to inaugurate another significant project that targets underserved communities in the country. It is a confirmation of my government’s sincerity to its promise of change, and its devotion to developing the entire Gambian nation through the National Development Plan (NDP) we developed together.

The occasion is one of a series of similar events signifying  that, without doubt, my Government rejects discrimination, and it is a government for all Gambians, all regions, all districts and all communities.

In consequence, we will continue to reach out to all marginalised and disadvantaged communities as we progress with our development endeavour.  We have one common interest that envelopes the whole nation as a united and prosperous family, bound by a common destiny.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Electricity Expansion Project has been successfully executed at a total cost of over Twenty-two Million US Dollars (US$22.5 Million). It is indeed a key milestone in the Government’s drive towards achieving universal access to electricity in The Gambia by 2025.

The implementation of this first phase started in 2017, and the project covers seventy-seven (77) communities. Fourteen (14) of these are in Kiang, and sixty-three (63) are in the West Coast Region. Altogether, the range targets five thousand (5000) meters in Kiang and over twenty thousand (20,000) meters in the West Coast Region.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You will recall that barely three years ago, electricity supply was a nightmare in the Greater Banjul Area, and did not exist at all in most parts of the country.

Today, we are able to provide a reliable supply of electricity in most parts of the Greater Banjul Area and in many other areas of the country. As we pursue our countrywide electrification agenda, Kiang has now been added to the list of beneficiaries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There cannot be any meaningful development in any nation without the required volume of energy generated to support its national projects and programmes, business enterprises, industry and production machinery.

Electricity is necessary for socio-economic advancement. It is essential for use in our homes, offices, schools, health facilities and factories, to name a few examples. Energy gives life to communities and nations; it brings about awareness of current affairs, and contributes to making people productive and active as citizens of the modern world.

These reasons justify and underscore the wisdom of prioritising access to electricity in accordance with the NDP. In this light, I assure all Gambians that, in the interest of all citizens, ample resources have been mobilised for the energy sector.

The funds will be duly invested to intensify andensure the electrification of the whole country by 2025. My government has also secured funding to provide renewable energy in one thousand, one hundred (1100) health centres and schools across the country.

Our National Electricity Programme is anchored tothe Electricity Road Map developed in 2017, with support from our development partners. It is a comprehensive Road Map that outlines viable investment projects for both generation and transmission and distribution up to 2025.

I am happy to disclose that, for this purpose, we have mobilised over Two Hundred Million Dollars ($200 Million) to achieve this lofty, but attainable, goal.

The Electricity Expansion Project we are inaugurating today is part of the National Electricity Road Map for universal electricity access. It has many other components, such as The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project, the Regional Electricity Access Project, the OMVG Electricity Interconnection Project and The Gambia Power Generation Improvement Project. All of them are slated for completion in the next few years.

It is obvious that these projects will radicallyimprove the livelihoods of the people, and contribute to the rapid realisation of our sustainable development goals. 

I hope that the residents of Kiang and other beneficiaries of this project will seize theopportunity to engage in enterprising activities to improve their lives and the lot of their communities.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The second phase of the project will cover additional communities in Kiang Central, Kiang West and Kiang East by early 2021.

We are mindful of the need to develop all other sectors, because the national development process must take a multi-sectorial form. Thus, focus on the energy sector is matched by due attention and investment in all areas of development. In this way, we will achieve the much desired comprehensive and inclusive sustainable development of every part of our beloved nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It needs to be emphasised that electricity is a means to attaining various development outcomes, if utilised maximally. Government has a role in thisprocess, but the beneficiaries of the supply also have an important role to play.

I urge every citizen to make the most of all the opportunities that exist. Live comfortably, but also invest to improve your living conditions, and contribute your quota to national development. We will support all genuine investments and projects designed to serve the interest of the people.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I extend sincere thanks and gratitude to the Government of the Republic of India for providing the funds for this project through EXIM Bank of India.

I also thank EXIM Bank of India, the contractor (KEI) and the consultants (Voyants Solutions) for the timely execution of the project, despite the challenges that had to be tackled, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the same spirit, we commend the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and NAWEC for the effective and successful implementation of the project.

Finally, we thank our development partners, the Regional Governor, the Chiefs, Alkalolu and Regional Development Committees for their collaboration and support during the implementation of the project.

With joy, it is now my singular honour to declare the Electricity Expansion Project officially inaugurated.

I thank you for your attention.

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