The Gambia River Basin Development Organization (OMVG) has embarked on training members of the National Monitoring Committee on the country’s hydroelectricity project, to provide more energy and light for the nation.
The two-day workshop, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday (2 -3 May 2017), at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, was organised by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
The training included members of the National Monitoring Committee (NMC) and Local Coordination and Monitoring Committees (LCMC).
It addressed Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMP) as well as Resettlement Plans (RP) on the OMVG energy project.
The Gambia River Basin Development Organization (OMVG) Energy Project is a sub-regional organization made up of member states such as The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry.
OMVG seeks to provide hydroelectricity resources for the member countries through regional integration.
The project, called ‘Sambangalou Multi-Purpose Dam’, will get technical and financial assistance from Exim Bank from China at an estimated cost of D1,147,462,262.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lamin B. Dibba, said the OMVG Energy project was born out of the desire to develop the hydroelectric potential of the Gambia River Basin and the Konkoure River in Guinea.
“The African development Bank (AFDB) provided the OMVG with support to develop an energy progamme mainly at the Sambangalou Hydroelectric facility on the Gambia River along the border of Senegal and Guinea,” he said.
With an estimated installed capacity of 128 megawatt (MW) and an average annual production of 402 gigawatt per hour (GWh), the Kaleta Hydroelectric facility on the River Konkoure in Guinea, with an installed capacity of 240 megawatts (MW) and an average annual production of 946 gigawatts per hour (GWh), along with the construction of a 225 node high voltage interconnection network of 1,677km will link the electricity networks of the four OMVG member states.
He elaborated saying: “This vital information to sensitise the committee on the policies and procedures regarding the implementation of the ESMP and RP related to the involuntary displacement of populations and the modalities of indemnity and compensation of the populations affected by the project.”
He further said the involvement of the committees is crucial in the implementation of the landmark OMVG Energy Project.
Kabir Silla Sonko, Director of Environment and Sustainable Development, said the OMVG project is a regional structural project forming part of the priority projects of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the Programmme of Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) of NEPAD.
He said the total cost of the interconnection network is US$722 million was secured from eight funders including Kuwaiti Fund and the World Bank.
He added that they have concluded the assessments, negotiations and the signatures of the contracts with the different contractors for the construction of the interconnection lines.
He said what remains is the liberation of the rights-of-way and the compensation of the populations affected by the project (PAP) to enable these companies to start the interconnection line for the period of 18 months.
The national monitoring committees and the local coordination and monitoring committees are to play a leading role in the implementation of the energy project.
He said the mission of these structures is to bring about administrative, technical, environmental and social facilities in the implementation of the project.
They would also supervise at the national and local level, he said.
He disclosed that training has already started in the Republic of Guinea and its objective is to provide the administrative authorities with more information.
Author: Rose Zahra Gomez
The Point Newspaper