The Gambia is on course to register universal access to electricity by 2025. However, power interruption and frequent blackouts have left many asking whether the country has the generation capacity to supply the increasing electricity demand.
Honourable Kebba K Barrow, National Assembly Member for Kombo South; and Honorable Alhagie S. Darboe, National Assembly for Brikama North, are suggesting for the country to direct its focus on investing more in renewable energy, such as solar energy, to meet the high demand of energy.
“Renewable energy, I think, is the best thing for us. In the sub-region, we have a lot of sunshine and what we need is the capital expenses that need to be met. In doing that, it is the responsibility of the respective member countries to raise the required funds to get the projects in place. For us, in The Gambia, we have just ratified a loan and a grant to support renewable energy that is going to give a number of kilowatts for the provision of electricity”.
According to KKB, the Gambia has secured a grant of 24 million Euros and a loan of 8 million Euros towards helping the country’s renewable energy drive. “The foundation stone of that project has already been laid by the President of the Republic and, hopefully, it is going to be up and running within the next 24 months,” stated Hon. Barrow, who also chairs the Ecowas Parliament’s Committee on Macro Economics and Economic Policy Research.
For Alhagie S. Darboe, Minority Leader and National Assembly Member for Brikama North, the Ecowas bloc is doing well to improve energy access within the sub-region, through various projects, such as the West Africa Power Pool and the OMVG.
Nonetheless, Darboe equally believes renewable energy could be an alternative for Ecowas member states, including The Gambia. “Renewable energy is more reliable, affordable and accessible. I would therefore recommend The Gambia to direct more attention to the renewable energy sector.”
Hon Barrow and Darboe, respectively, who are part of The Gambia’s five-member delegation to the Ecowas Parliament, made these interventions in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where the Parliament is organizing a meeting on energy transition.