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Independent Evaluation of the Liberia Energy Project
The Liberia Compact is a partnership between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Liberia. The $257 million Compact, which was signed in January of 2016, is designed to encourage economic growth and reduce poverty by increasing access to reliable and affordable electricity and improving roads. Currently, economic growth in Liberia is severely constrained by this inadequate access. Liberia has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world, at 2 percent of the population in 2016, and Liberians pay one of the highest tariffs—about 50 cents (U.S.) per kilowatt hour. Liberians also endure frequent planned and unplanned outages.
Mathematica’s independent evaluation of the Liberia Energy Project demonstrates our continued support of Power Africa, the U.S. initiative designed to establish 60 million new electricity connections and generate 30,000 megawatts of power by bringing together African governments, the private sector, and donor partners to alleviate energy poverty and generate economic growth.
The Liberia Energy Project includes activities designed to overcome some of the challenges that persist in the country’s energy sector.
- First, the Mt. Coffee Rehabilitation Activity is designed to increase power generation by rehabilitating the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant, which will expand its capacity to 88MW.
- The Capacity Building and Sector Reform Activity is designed to support the Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy; the Liberian Electricity Corporation; and the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen policy, the regulatory environment, and management and operations throughout these institutions.
- The Mt. Coffee Support Activity is designed to provide community infrastructure, such as bridges and floating walkways, to ensure that people can access farms, schools, and clinics in the areas affected by the rehabilitation. The activity will also alleviate environmental and social risks through oversight of the watershed management plan and rehabilitation of water transmission.
- The Liberia Electricity Corporation Training Center activity is designed to construct and provide equipment, curriculum, and materials for the center as well as training for the director, instructors, and support staff.
- The Gender and Social Inclusion activity is designed to provide technical assistance to strengthen the planning and implementation of programs to connect women and youth to productive uses of electricity by developing their skills and sense of entrepreneurship.
Mathematica is leading a comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation of the Liberia Energy Project designed to answer many of the persisting questions about the implementation of activities; grid and utility level outcomes; willingness to pay for electricity; and ultimately, the impacts on households, businesses, and social services. The quantitative evaluation of impacts on households and small businesses will likely employ matched comparison group designs and use grid expansion maps and satellite imagery, and a longitudinal panel may be used to measure impacts on medium and large businesses and on public institutions. We will use a range of qualitative methods for the implementation and performance evaluation. We will use electric utility and nighttime light data to measure grid level outcomes, and on water utility data to assess water quality and environmental impacts. The MCC Liberia evaluation is our first long-term project in Liberia.