Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has commended the Regional Emergency Solar Power Initiative (RESPITE) during the signing ceremony for Innovative and Stellar Initiative.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, President Bio stated that RESPITE is the beginning of a revolution in energy supply and access in the region. He thanked international partners with emphasis on the World Bank for the innovative and stellar initiative.

Bio stated that Africa as a continent is rich in renewable energy and it is time for sound planning to get the right energy mix at the lowest cost to the African economy.

He said, “I believe that the signing of the project is just the beginning of a long journey towards a more sustainable and prosperous future for Sierra Leone and the West Africa region.

I’m confident that with the support of our partners and the determination of our people, we will be able to achieve our goal of providing clean, green, reliable, and sustainable energy to all.

The president further spoke about the persistent and formidable challenges that confront the sub-regional efforts in expanding economies.

We in the sub-region bear some of the greatest burdens of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the resulting economic impact. We are facing higher prices for our mainly fossil-fuel-powered energy sector. We are facing shrinking investments and development assistance. We are facing greater risk of debt distress,” he said.

President Bio disclosed that his government is paying for more energy now than 18 months ago, which he also said has an advanced impact on other sectors of the economy.

Rest assured of my full support to the newly established Regional Technical Committee and the RESPITE Coordination Unit implementing this project,” he concluded.

In his keynote address, Minister of Energy Alhaji Kanja Sesay commended the President for gracing the signing ceremony and for delivering noting that his presence speaks volumes about his commitment to the energy sector in Sierra Leone and was proof of his belief in regional cooperation.

He said that RESPITE would address regional challenges, increase IDA allocations, reduce fiscal impact alleviate electricity supply, and crisis, and support energy transition.

Mr. Sesay thanked his opposite members from Liber,ia, Togo, and Chad and praised the efforts of the presidents of those countries as well as international partners.

Finance Minister, Fantamadi Bangura, described the project as truly transformational.