China plans two hydro projects in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma made a state visit to Chinese President Hu Jintao May 25, 2009, only days after China’s ambassador announced China will build two hydroelectric projects in Sierra Leone.

Ambassador Qiu Shaofang told reporters May 18 that China would build two dams over two years to bring power to Makeni in northern Sierra Leone and to Port Loko, 75 miles from the capital, Freetown. Details of the projects were not immediately available.

To further ties between the countries, the ambassador said China also would construct ministerial buildings, schools, government buildings, and a hospital.

In 2008, the West African Power Pool signed a partnership agreement with Chinese hydropower builder SinoHydro Corp. to develop West Africa hydroelectric projects. (HydroWorld 2/8/08) The memorandum of understanding called for the parties to construct four power stations and a dam to boost electricity supply to Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, and Guinea.

After years of interruption by civil war, Sierra Leone is preparing to finish the 85 percent complete 50-MW Bumbuna hydroelectric project on the Seli River, 250 kilometers from Freetown. (HydroWorld 5/26/09) The 50-MW project is the first stage of a five-stage program that eventually is to total 275 MW.

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