A team from the Arizona State University, ASU, (School for the Future of Innovation in Society) in the United States of America (USA) and the Centre for Economic Research and Capacity Building in Freetown have today, presented research findings on the topic: “Improving the Social and Economic Impact of Energy investments in Sierra Leone” to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) at their Tower Hill office in Freetown.

The study focused on understanding the dynamics and uncertainties that burden households by constraining their financial capabilities.

The research project, which was funded by the UKAID, under the Energy for Economic Growth Research program and managed by the Oxford Policy Management focused on data collected in Sierra Leone, urban and rural settings in 2020 and 2021 used to evaluate social value of energy for Sierra Leonean households.

Welcoming the team, the Development Secretary, Peter Sam-Kpakra said the research project was a timely venture, as it targeted the energy sector, which has been a challenging area for the government. He noted that it would be interesting to understand the analysis of their findings which would be important for the energy sector in Sierra Leone.

Presenting the findings of the report, Professor Clarke Miller noted that the objectives of the report was to improve understanding of the social value of energy in Sierra Leone and also help Sierra Leone institutions build capacity to improve the value of electricity services through research.

He said the key findings of the research were that Sierra Leone households continue to face high energy burdens, the net social value of electricity was negative for most Sierra Leone households and that multiple pathways exist for increasing social value of energy for Sierra Leone households.

Professor Miller said they started by identifying distinct neighbourhood clusters with similar characteristics and surveyed households within each neighbourhood about their energy use, using several different methodologies to capture multiple features. He said out of this they were able to get a robust picture of the many different components of energy costs and burdens faced by Sierra Leone households.

Responding to the findings, the Director of Public Investment Management at MoPED, Alpha K Bangura appreciated the team for the research conducted, noting that there was need for the team to deepen engagement with the Ministry of Energy to improve energy reforms in Sierra Leone.

He said that they would strengthen the partnership as the work they have completed was relevant to the implementation of the Medium-Term National Development Plan as well as successor national development plans, adding that the government has always been committed to improving energy generation for its citizens.

Other speakers who attended the meeting included, Netra Chhetri, Professor (ASU), Hon. Festus Lansana, CERCB, Wilbourn Showers, CERCB, Momo Turay, Technical Advisor, MoPED, Assistant Directors, Economists, Analysts and Planners at MoPED.