This Rural Electricity Expansion Project as fondly referred to was successfully executed at a total cost of over Twenty-two and a half million US dollars (US$22.5 Million) and it’s a key milestone in the government’s drive towards achieving universal access to electricity in The Gambia by 2025.
The long road as part of the implementation first phase started in 2017, and the project covers seventy-seven (77) communities. Fourteen (14) of these are in Kiang, and sixty-three (63) are in the West Coast Region.
In essence, the Electricity Expansion Project is part of the National Electricity Road Map for universal electricity access. It has series of other components, such as The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project, the Regional Electricity Access Project, the OMVG Electricity Interconnection Project and The Gambia Power Generation Improvement Project, which are all slated for completion in the next few years.
Energy no doubt is increasingly regarded as a promising opportunity for the economic development of rural areas. And guaranteeing effective and stable energy supply is fundamental in attaining national development. In fact the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 recognises the need to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
The advent of affordable energy supply in Kiang would significantly boost volume of economic activities such as trade, thereby reducing rural-urban drift. Kiang-born businessmen, who were forced to relocate to other regions, would now come home establish businesses in their own communities.
We all know how the people of Kiang suffered during the past government when it comes to accessing electricity. Yes, we are aware that some households used solar light, but majority lacked efficient and affordable electricity supply.
With the global population swelling and industrialisation on the rise in developing nations, humanity’s hunger for energy also increases. It is an undisputable fact that access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is integral to global development in the twenty-first century.
For far too long, the people of Kiang alongside other marginalised and disadvantaged communities felt betrayed or neglected by the leadership of the country in terms of energy supply and other social amenities to boost economic trade.
We only hope that the coming of this new electricity supply would serve it purpose by ensuring efficient, stable and affordable supply, not one used to score political points.
"For my part, I make this pledge to all of you: The politics of division, of pitting east against west, urban, versus, rural, region against region, and people against people will have no place in my Administration."
Edward G Rendell