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US development finance institution DFC commits $412mn to build Sierra Leone power station

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has committed $412mn to support the construction of Sierra Leone's first major power station.

The funding package includes a $292mn loan for an 83MW gas-fueled power station in Freetown and $120mn in political risk insurance to attract private investment.

This initiative builds on a $217mn loan from the DFC extended in 2021 and is further bolstered by a $40mn loan from West Africa’s ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development.

Currently, only 15% of Sierra Leone’s population has access to grid electricity, which is often unreliable and subject to frequent disruptions. Against that backdrop, Nisha Biswal, the DFC’s deputy chief executive, expressed pride in supporting the country's first large-scale, independent power project.

The Western Area Power Generation Project, developed by Kenya-based Milele Energy and Abu Dhabi-based TCQ Power, is being constructed by the Indian conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji and maintained by Siemens Energy.

Once finished, it will be Sierra Leone's primary power source, greatly enhancing its energy supply. David Moinina Sengeh, Sierra Leone's chief minister, emphasised the government's commitment to delivering dependable, clean, affordable, and sustainable energy to drive national progress. 

The DFC, established in 2018 during Donald Trump's administration to counter China’s influence in the developing world, aims to invest in critical infrastructure projects.

This initiative in Sierra Leone is part of the DFC's broader mission to invest up to $2bn in renewable energy schemes globally, targeting the 800mn people worldwide who currently lack access to utility electricity.