Dr Sanneh said this in a statement delivered to delegates yesterday at the start of a two-day validation of The Gambia’s Sustainable Energy for All Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus documents at the Sheraton Hotel.
He explained: “Fuel imports cause major problems for the Gambian nation as they use up the little foreign exchange that the country generates. In 2009, the country spent in the order of US$47 million on petroleum imports, which amounted to about 15.5 percent share of total imports. Furthermore, the energy intensity of The Gambia is about 0.51 which is close to the Ecowas average but significantly higher than that obtained in developed and emerging economies. The four important features that characterise the energy sector in The Gambia are: high dependence on imported fossil fuel, the dominance of traditional biomass sources in the country’s energy mix, low access to modern energy services, limited investment in new assets and inadequate maintenance of old and ageing electricity power facilities and very limited investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency potentials.
“The government of The Gambia has made consistent efforts to address these challenges in the energy sector in a progressive manner. In 2005, The Gambia adopted an Energy Policy that sets out the objectives for the energy sector and also the aims for the renewable energy sub-sector. Within that policy, an Electricity Act was enacted in 2005 to promote the development of the electricity sub-sector, encourage private investment in the sector, promote competition, set out the responsibilities for policy and regulation and regulate electricity service providers. We as a country need to do more in our energy sector. The Gambia has the potential to accelerate the use of its renewable resources to power its growing economy. Already, there is high suppressed demand for energy, especially electricity, and as the country’s demand for electricity increases, it urgently needs to look into options that are affordable, reliable and have predictable cost attributes.”
The Gambia’s SE4ALL Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus documents are being coordinated by the Ministry of Energy with support from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the Africa Caribbean Pacific, Business Climate Facility, United Nations Development Programme and the Ecowas Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
Other speakers were the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy, head of Nepad Energy, representative of the executive director of ECREE and the UNDP resident representative in Banjul.]]>