Why is the RREA important to Liberia?
The majority of rural towns in Africa to not receive the necessary energy to build a stable infrastructure of what is generally farming. With the dispersion of clean energy overseen by the RREA, these towns can begin to jump start the farming business that they require to be a vital part of the country’s economy. Agriculture is the most basic of all stages of development for a nation, thus if Liberia can manage to facilitate an expansion and stabilization in the farming industry, other aspects of their economy will become available for development.
“The RREA will work with the communities to discuss their needs and opportunities for such projects. The RREA will also work closely with Liberia’s private sector and community developers to investigate how these entities can be encouraged to bring electricity to the rural areas. In addition to training and outreach, the RREA is expected to provide financial support such as grants, subsidies and loan guarantees to rural communities and the private sector” (rrealiberia.org).
A key component of the success of this agency will come from the outside support it receives from the private sector and the grants it is given to allocate to renewable projects as they see fit. Participation from outside investors is crucial to the longevity of the RREA and the growth of the Liberian farming industry.
“The Rural & Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) of Liberia will on Thursday and Friday, February 23-24, launch the Commercialization of Off-Grid Solar Electric Lighting in Liberia. This launch which will be co-hosted by the World Bank Liberia Office, takes place at the Palm Spring Resort in Congo Town at 8:30am and will bring together officials of the Liberian Government, local and international development partners. Also in attendance will be international manufacturers whose off-grid solar products have met the Lighting Africa Minimum Quality Assurance Standards and potential local retail partners who have expressed interest to participate in the pilot program. The theme of this program, “Lighting Lives in Liberia,” is supported by a grant administered by the World Bank’s International Development Association through a program entitled Catalyzing New Renewable Energy in Rural Liberia; and a grant from the Global Environment Facility which is also administered by the World Bank” (thenewdawnliberia.com).
Commercialization of the off-grid solar projects is the first step in the right direction. Should retail partners help establish the projects set created by the RREA, farming and general production of goods in the rural areas of Liberia will drastically improve, not to mention that quality of living of the individuals inhabiting those areas will be much higher as well. Proper support of the right industries will bring about positive returns. Something to keep in mind for the future commercialization of additional RREA sponsored programs.