A team of researchers 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 presented their research findings to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) at their Tower Hill office in Freetown.

The study titled – “Improving the Social and Economic Impact of Energy investments in Sierra Leone” focused on understanding the uncertainties facing households and the financial impact.

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 to evaluate the social value of energy for Sierra Leonean households.

Welcoming the team, the Development Secretary, Peter Sam-Kpakra said the research is timely as it has 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 should 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 burden and negative net social value of electricity, although multiple pathways exist that could increase the social value of energy in Sierra Leone.

Professor Miller said they started the research by identifying distinct neighbourhood clusters with similar characteristics, and surveyed households within each neighbourhood about their energy use. He said they then produced a robust picture of the many different components of energy costs and burdens faced by households.

Director of Public Investment Management at MoPED, Alpha K Bangura said there is need for the research team to deepen engagement with the Ministry of Energy to improve energy reforms in Sierra Leone.

He said that this will strengthen the partnership as the work they have completed is relevant to the implementation of the government’s Medium-Term National Development Plan as well as successor National Development Plans.