Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy and Power, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker on September 29th signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Kingho Energy Group, underpinning power growth agreement and joint development of up to three hydropower plants and one thermal generation in Sierra Leone. (Photo: Ambassador Foh signing as a witness)
This MOU followed an initial one between Kingho and the Government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation on the development of Port and Railway in Sierra Leone, also during the month of September. It is also a supplementary one, to the one signed in May 2013, between the Government of Sierra Leone (Ministers of Mines and Justice) and China Kingho Energy Group for the development of Mines, concentration plant steel plant Sea Port, Railway and Road.
With anticipated investment portfolio running into billions of dollars, China kingho Energy group will be in need of 350 megawatts of power for its operations in Sierra Leone. This MOU has established the needed principles for a joint venture with the Government of Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in central Beijing, Minister Robbin-Coker expressed government’s appreciation to Kingho Energy Group, for its support to Sierra Leone’s development. The MOU, the Minister said “will help to progress the relationship between the company and the Government of Sierra Leone” as the country’s Agenda for Prosperity is built on energy.
Sierra Leone’s Agenda for Prosperity, Minister Robbin-Coker said, is about transforming her mineral resources to goods that can be competitive, was therefore looking forward to seeing Kingho succeed in Sierra Leone. The country’s energy chief also stated that the construction of Port and Railway in Sierra Leone will be important to the country’s development and “all part of facilitating growth for the country to become a middle Income nation which is a vision of President Ernest Bai Koroma”
He disclosed that following a visit to China three years ago, he visited the Kingho’s industrial park in Inner Mongolia and was able to see firsthand what they had to offer and then became convinced that they will become better partners.
Sierra Leone and China, Minister Robbin-Coker said, have had good political friendship for forty two years and it was therefore time for the business friendship to be used in taking the relationship to another level. He was convinced, that the business relationship between Kingho Energy group and the Government of Sierra Leone “will be a win-win for all, as Government is committed to a successful partnership under the Agenda for Prosperity of president Koroma”
Chairman for Kingho Energy Group, Huo Qinghua in his statement said, the event marked another historic day in the relationship between Sierra Leone and China and strengthening his company’s operations in Sierra Leone.
Huo Qinghua thanked Sierra Leone’s envoy to China, His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh for his unflinching support to the development of Sierra Leone, through his support to Kingho. “You have done a lot of work and significant contribution to Sierra Leone. You have also contributed to our efforts in our portfolio of development in Sierra Leone.”
He assured of his company’s continued readiness to implement “commitment made initially to support Sierra Leone”, noting, that even though they have challenges, he was confident, with the support of the Government of Sierra Leone, they can move the project forward.
Also present at the signing ceremony was Sierra Leone’s envoy to China, His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh. He called on all parties to ensure the successful implementation of the billion dollar investment in Sierra Leone.
Kingho, Ambassador Foh said, has a core aspect of mining in its development portfolio, as well as energy and transport amongst others and was therefore, “looking at Kingho from the perceptive of a conglomerate of investment opportunities that should be supported by all the relevant players”.
Speaking from a political front, Ambassador Foh said, Sierra Leone is built on the solid foundation of the All peoples Congress “I am coming from the background of a politician and I feel pause of the party. The president feels for Sierra Leone’s development agenda and Kingho Group will be a big player in all of this “,he disclosed.
During his visit to China, the Minister also met with officials of the China-Africa development Fund and had discussions on possible investment in the energy sector in Sierra Leone.
He also, prior to his departure for Sierra Leone, met with China Gezhouba Group Cooperation (CGGC), a super transnational cooperation affiliated to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. CGGC’s business covers 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China and reaches out to over 56 countries/regions in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and America.
Besides the world well-known Three Gorges Project and the Gezhouba Water Conservancy project, CGGC is currently carrying out the construction of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Station in Pakistan with the contract sum of 12 billion RMB Yuan, which is by far the largest hydropower station project undertaken by a Chinese company. It has also expressed interest to start operations in Sierra Leone.