Liberia reopens hydropower dam destroyed in war after 26 years

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf commissioned a hydropower plant that was destroyed 26 years ago during a civil war as the West African nation seeks to more than triple generation capacity before the end of 2017.

The Mount Coffee plant is supplying 22 megawatts of power, adding to the 38 megawatts the country generates from thermal facilities. Upon full completion next year, the hydroplant will generate 88 megawatts.

Liberia seeks to lift its capacity to 200 megawatts in the next 12 months through solar and other renewable energy projects, Johnson Sirleaf said Thursday at the commissioning of the Mount Coffee plant, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) northeast of the capital, Monrovia.

Liberia plans “to make sure that all of our entities — public or private — will in the little future obtain electricity,” she said.

Economic Fortunes

Johnson Sirleaf is trying to transform Liberia’s economic fortunes after a more-than-yearlong Ebola outbreak brought expansion to a near-standstill. At its peak, the virus infected as many as 400 people a week and resulted in the deaths of more than 11,200 in the country and neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is seeking more than $1 billion to revive the country, which was already recovering from a civil war that lasted more than a decade.

Liberia is targeting average annual economic growth of about 6 percent for the seven years starting 2018, after averaging about 8 percent between 2006 and 2013, Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara said in October.