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Reflection of a Young Sierra Leonean
16. December 2020 at 16:38
Growing up in Sierra Leone was filled with hope for a better future. We sang the national anthem pouring out our hearts, we pledged, we happily sang about the then 12 districts and the 7 major rivers of Sierra Leone.

As the ages of been naive goes away, we started hearing some amazing stories of these major rivers, we were spanked to remember Rokel River (386 km), Sewa River (340 km), Jong River (230 km), Little Scarcies River (260 km), Rokel River (260 km) and Moa River (190 km), Great Scarcies (101 km) etc. 

As I reflect on how far we have come as a nation, what have we achieved from all these amazing rivers? The 50 MW Bumbuna Hydro project brought a lot of relief during its preliminary stages but has it lived up to expectations? A study conducted by Pöyry Energy GmbH for the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) found the theoretical hydropower potential for all rivers in Sierra Leone to be an estimated 4381 MW, quite exciting right? As a nation what have we achieved? It’s a slap on our face to have brought in Karpowership to power Freetown, do we prioritise Sustainable energy system development? 

About 27 % of #SierraLeone is located in the Kittam basin and 18 % is located in the Little Scarcies basin. The basins of the Jong, Moa and Seli (Rokel) rivers each cover slightly more than 10 % of the country, but unfortunately, the country has mastered the act of #loadshedding. Most places lack basic energy access, diesel, kerosine and petrol still making waves as they go to source to light our homes. Most people in rural areas still continue to dream of energy as it’s seen as a luxury for the rich and powerful. What have we done to bring out the 80 - 87% of our population out of energy poverty? The Sunbird Energy Renewable Energy Project with a generation capacity of 32MW is amazing, however, The Ministry of Energy Sierra Leone ought to know better by now.

Inclusion, we can still get it right if we learn from working models. Access to finance may be a bottleneck, but long term and continuous  development initiatives will be key. Taking bold steps on how best to utilise the potential production capacity of our rivers will make 2030 feasible. The Ethiopian Government made the bold step to develop the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the largest hydropower project in Africa and is among the biggest under-construction power plants in the world with an installed capacity of 6,450MW amounting to $4.5bn. This hydropower project is expected to generate 15,128GWh of power a year when operational, increasing the current electricity generation capacity of Ethiopia by four times. If Ethiopia can do it sure we can, we may not produce 15 GWh but we may get up to 4GWh from our beloveth 7 major rivers.

Cite This Article As: Jeremiah Thoronka. "Reflection of a Young Sierra Leonean." International Youth Journal, 16. December 2020.

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