5th Avenue Chemist
Richie and his father, Godfred, have been running a pharmacy for 16 years. Due to Dumsor, they are unable to sell medicine like life-saving insulin because they do not have reliable enough electricity to maintain a refrigerator required to store these drugs at the recommended temperature.
They also lose business when the power goes out because when neighboring businesses close, fewer customers come in to buy their medicine. In fact, they saw a 90% decrease in business during the worst of the power outages.
This printing company was started by a young University of Ghana graduate named Delali in September 2006. When the power went out, he had to go to a friend’s office to use his electricity and send emails to his clients.
As Del's company grew, his brother Billy joined him.
During the Dumsor era, they were forced to purchase a generator to stay in business. When the generator exploded due to overuse, they lost most of their business because they were unable to meet deadlines. And even though they weren't making money, employees still had to be paid.
Abena and her mom, Patience, have been operating a small catering shop for the past 16 years where they bake an assortment of pastries and wedding cakes. Recently, they expanded to include a training center where they have two young female trainees and one employee.
Like other businesses in the area, they have had a fair share of problems with Dumsor. One of the fridges stocked with drinks caught fire due to a voltage spike. Had it not been for the intervention of neighbors, the entire store would have burnt down, and might have affected other shops.
Nii's Barber Shop
Nii runs a barber shop with two other owners. Unreliable power means he is unable to use the equipment he'd need to offer additional services to grow his business, like a nail dryer and refrigerator.
And sometimes he has to turn away customers when the power is off because he needs good lighting to work and his shop gets too hot and uncomfortable for customers without the fan.
October 27, 2016
As we wrap up our time in Liberia, our visit to the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant reminds me just how important strong partnerships are to MCC’s work of reducing poverty through economic growth. As part of our $257 million Liberia Compact, launched early this year, MCC is investing in the rehabilitation of the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant, the country’s single largest power source. In addition to the Government of Liberia, MCC is funding this project alongside the European Investment Bank, Germany’s KfW Development Bank, and the Government of Norway to aid Liberia’s post-Ebola economic recovery.
The overwhelming majority of Liberians do not have access to electricity, and most of the country’s roads are unpaved, making travel difficult during heavy rains that are common here. MCC’s compact with Liberia focuses on addressing the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity and inadequate road infrastructure. As a result of MCC’s investments, Mt. Coffee is on track to deliver power from the first turbine by the end of the year.
October 24, 2016
Greetings from Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, where the MCC team has been keeping busy! MCC’s $44 million Sierra Leone Threshold Program, signed in November 2015, supports reforms by the Government of Sierra Leone that will lead to more effective delivery of water and electricity services and limit opportunities for corruption as the country works to recover from the Ebola epidemic. By establishing independent regulation, strengthening key institutions, and increasing transparency and accountability in these sectors, our partnership is laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth.
Reducing Corruption in Service Delivery
While in Freetown we visited a call center for the recently launched Pay No Bribe program, which gives citizens a means to anonymously report bribery and corruption. One of the operators, Alice, sat down with us to discuss why the center was created and how it is working to reduce corruption in services delivered by the government, including electricity.
We also participated in roundtable discussions with electricity and water sector government partners and local businesses to hear about key sector challenges and investment opportunities in the country.
Building Back Better
Sierra Leone has made significant strides since the country’s brutal civil war ended in 2002, but its positive trajectory was interrupted in 2014 and 2015, with the arrival of Ebola. The virus killed almost 4,000 people in Sierra Leone and dealt a severe blow to the country’s economy. As part of the recovery efforts, MCC’s investments are focused on electricity and water, priorities that align with the Government of Sierra Leone’s Build Back Better plan, to create long term economic growth.
To better understand the water delivery challenges, we traveled to Guma Valley Dam, a treatment facility that provides water to the people of Freetown.
We also visited a water kiosk at Kissy Dockyards and community-operated water standpipes in Mamba Ridge to better understand how Freetown residents access water.
October 20, 2016
Today, we wrapped up our first stop: Benin, a small West African nation that became the first country on the continent to make the transition from a dictatorship to democracy. MCC’s $375 million Benin Power Compact represents the largest single U.S. Government overseas investment in off-grid electricity in a single country and MCC’s largest investment in utility-scale solar power generation. In addition to power generation and distribution, the compact addresses wide-ranging policy reforms that are key for greater private-sector participation in this important sector.
Only one-third of Benin’s population has access to electricity, and electricity imports account for 80 percent of total consumption. Additionally, demand for power is growing quickly, putting stress on the national electrical grid and creating daily power outages. Without additional power generation, Benin cannot meet the needs of its citizens or businesses, or fully capitalize on its economic potential.
The Benin Power Compact builds on the success of MCC’s first $307 million compact with the country, completed in 2011. During our visit, we saw the Port of Cotonou, where MCC’s investment increased port capacity, improved security and enhanced intra-port traffic flow.