By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow on Saturday launched the first sub-station of the Gambia River Basin Development Organisation OMVG, electricity project in Soma. The other station is expected to be in Brikama.
The $722M electricity project will benefit four member countries including The Gambia. The project will connect from the hydroelectric power supply of the Samba Ngallo Dam project interconnection transmission and distribution line in Guinea to the Gambia grid.
Energy experts said the project once completed in 18 months will fill the electricity supply gap in the Gambia.
The project will give priority to places such as the Kiangs, which have not got electricity since independence in 1965.
Other countries of the OMVG project are Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry.
In his speech, President Barrow said electricity is a major catalyst for development and the striking electricity demand and supply disparity in the country is enough to highlight the significance of this project.
He said this disparity also reflects the justification for the strong emphasis in the national development plan 2018-2021 on attracting investments, improving access to electricity and enhancing household energy security for national development.
“As an essential link in the economic and social development chain, electricity is a major catalyst or driving force for national development. Mindful of this, the OMVG has re-energised its activities to enhance and support the development of appropriate energy infrastructure in member countries,” he asserted.
The project, President Barrow added, stands to revitalize member states’ relation and strengthen regional solidarity.
“Like the founding fathers of the OMVG we equally recognize the doctrine that in order to go fast we must go alone but to go far we have to go together. I am convinced that the implementation of the project will motivate our distinguished partners further to engage in other sub-regional development projects aimed at fostering African integration. Better days are ahead of us,” he said adding that his statement that 2019 will be a defining point is not for political reasons but a genuine determination to develop the country.
The Gambian leader thanked the African Development Bank, French Development Agency, Germany Development Bank, EU Investment Development Bank, World Bank, West African Development Bank, Kuwait and the OMVG for mobilizing funds for the project.