President Koroma in Abu Dhabi…and Sierra Leone among six developing nations chosen for renewable energy projects

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 By KABS KANU :

Sierra Leone’s President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is among many world leaders and heads of governments attending  the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week in the United Arab Emirates ( UAE ). The conference started on Saturday with the  International Renewable Energy Agency ( IRENA )  fourth annual assembly in Abu Dhabi. Irena is the global centre for renewable-energy cooperation for its 123 member states, as well as the European Union.

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WORLD LEADERS AT THE CONFERENCE   : PRESIDENT KOROMA IS FIFTH FROM RIGHT : PHOTO BY JARAH KAWUSU -KONTE AND STORY BY COCORIOKO AND UAE MEDIA

According to the UAE media, the meeting is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which incorporates conferences including the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit, and the announcement of the Zayed Future Energy Prize winner

The meeting is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which incorporates conferences including the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit, and the announcement of the Zayed Future Energy Prize winners.

The President and his delegation which included the Minister of Foreign Affairs , Dr.Samura Kamara, Information and Communications Minister Alhaji Alpha Kanu ,  the Special Executive Assistant, Dr. Sylvia Blyden and the President’s Personal Assistant, Mr. Brian Gilpin, among others, arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

A segment of the Conference at the opening session  focused on Africa as the next frontier in water, environment and energy. According to the Ghana News Agency, “The opening session focused on the rise of the United Arab Emirates in the areas of culture, construction, education, sustainable access to water and job creation and how those measures could be implemented in Africa to enhance the continent’s socio-economic development. The conference would  therefore give the UAE the opportunity to share its expertise and experience with developing African countries to take advantage to develop their resources.”

THE GOOD NEWS from the Conference for Sierra Leone so far is that the assembly announced the first six renewable-energy projects in developing countries to receive loans under Irena’s project partnership with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, with Sierra Leone being one of the beneficiaries .

HERE IS A NEWS REPORT ON THE IRENA INITIATIVE BY THE UAE MEDIA :

Abu Dhabi – Loans of $41 million were announced for renewable energy projects in six developing countries by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).

It’s the first wave of concessional loans handed out by the IRENA/ADFD partnership and the six recipients were chosen by an advisory panel head by IRENA member and Polish under-secretary of state for the economy, Ilona Antoniszyn-Klik.

The winning projects are in Ecuador, Mali, the Maldives, Mauritania, Samoa and Sierra Leone and involve hydro, wind, solar and biomass technology.

At a press conference in Abu Dhabi today, IRENA director-general Adnan Amin said the projects were all “shovel-ready to go” and would “bring power to isolated off-grid populations, in some cases for the first time”.

“This will stimulate local economic development and raise living standards.”

He added: “Financing is one of the key issues renewable energy is facing, particularly in the developing world.”

He said IRENA and the ADFD had teamed up to “de-risk investments in promising renewable projects.”

Antoniszyn-Klik said the six projects “represent both a geographic spread and a mix of renewable technologies” and added that the first loans proved that “we are not making theories, we are making history.”

The UAE has committed $350 million in concessional loans through ADFD to support the deployment of renewables in developing countries and there are a further six loan cycles planned.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, ADFD director-general, said: “We aim to help communities in developing countries achieve the highest levels of progress. We hope to be a partner and strong contributor in achieving sustainable development through offering concessional loans and administering government grants to finance development projects that affect vital sectors including renewable energy — an important pillar to achieving sustainable development.”

The six loans comprise $5 million for a 3-MW small hydro project in Ecuador; $6 million for a 2-MW water-to-energy initiative in the Maldives; $9 million for a 4-MW solar PV/diesel hybrid mini-grid system in rural Mali; $5 million for wind projects in Mauritania; $7 million for biomass and biodiesel projects in Samoa; and $9 million for a 6-MW grid-connected solar PV project in Sierra Leone

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