African Development Fund approves $34.74 million green energy loan to Liberia and calls it grant

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

The African Development Fund has approved $34.74 million loan to Liberia to invest in green energy. The bank called the loan a grant and did not provide repayment conditions, including interest rates.

The African Development Bank often issues statements that hide loans to African nations under terms like grants, assistance or help. It often gives little details about repayment period, interest rates and the rest.

The Bank often does not respond to requests for comments, or send statements directly to media houses, rather it uses an expensive public relations firm to refine and syndicate its messages.

In the latest statement, the bank said the loan to the Liberian government would be used in two projects.

“Under the first project, the Renewable Energy for Electrification in Liberia, more than $33 million, primarily in the form of a grant from the Bank and the Strategic Climate Fund’s Scaling-up Renewable Energy program, is to support renewable energy sector growth.

“The funds will go towards construction of a mini dam on the St. John River in Nimba County in northeastern Liberia and the development of the Gbedin hydropower Falls with a total capacity of 9.34 megawatts of power, to be transmitted through an 8 km, 33kV line connecting 7,000 households.

“The system would allow for grid expansion to isolated communities and support the connection of schools, health centers, businesses and industries to the national grid, increasing the rural electrification rate in Liberia.

“The second project – Support to Investment Promotion Agencies in Transition Countries – received approval for an additional $1 million to assist in promoting business investment in Liberia and building the capacity of the National Investment Commission. The funds will come from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility,” the bank said.

It quoted Minister Samuel Tweah Jr., as saying that the project, scheduled for completion by 2024, would help unlock one of the main constraints to economic development — access to a reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of electricity.

At a signing ceremony on 29 January in Monrovia, Dr. Orison Amu, the African Development Bank’s Country Manager in Liberia, and Samuel Tweah Jr., Liberia’s Minister of Finance & Development Planning, inked financing agreements for two projects. The ceremony was attended by officials from government, the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), the National Investment Commission (NIC), development partners and other stakeholders.

“As a Bank we understand the challenges faced by Government and the efforts underway to attract Foreign Direct Investment,” said Amu. “This project aims at contributing to those ongoing efforts by (the Liberian) government.”

As of January 2020, the Fund has 16 on-going and recently approved operations in Liberia with a total commitment of $413 million. The active portfolio spreads over six sectors covering infrastructure, predominantly roads, and energy. With this new signing, energy now accounts for 26% of the Fund’s total commitments in Liberia.

Simon Ateba

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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