No socio-economic development can be attained in the absence of effective and efficient energy. Developed countries made significant progress, thanks to the effort dedicated to ensuring there is effective and universal access to energy for their citizenry.
In fact Sustainable Development Goal 7 has outlined the importance of access to affordable, modern, reliable and sustainable energy for all.
It is in the news that the managing director of the National Water and Electricity Company Limited (NAWEC) has outlined government’s plan through its strategic electricity subsector roadmap to provide universal access to electricity for Gambians by 2025.
This is indeed a welcome development. It is in line with government development strategies as captured in the National Development Plan.
It is important to state here that electrification must be equitable between urban and rural areas. Many rural areas have significant untapped economic potential;off-season farming and value-added agro-processing-that could be unleashed through the provision of electricity.
Indeed, significant progress has been made to make this dream achievable. Notwithstanding, a lot more needs to be done to electrify the remaining communities yet to enjoy the benefit of development and one of the modern social amenities.
Access to energy is vital. Without it, no meaningful development is achievable despite advances in science and technology.
It is a well known fact that providing access to electricity support inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. And this is another area to score political points as the country fast heads to December.
To be able to win the hearts and minds of local electorates, government must deliver on its election campaign; one of which is to provide uninterrupted supply as captured in the National Development Plan.
The government should remember that the provision of electricity should be accompanied by elements such as market access and financial services, which will ensure that the various segments of the local economy function effectively to stimulate economic development.