By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – A team of six officials from the Islamic Development Bank led by Noureddine Mabrouk arrived in Guyana last Wednesday to scope renewable energy projects for off-grid area in partnership with the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA).
The Islamic Bank team includes Noreddine Citroen, project management specialist; Yehia Amin, economist; Abdulaziz Altoukhi, legal specialist; Oltajuni Yusuf, climate change specialist; Bensalem Haimoudi, manager- project financial management and Chantal Edouard, procurement specialist.
In April of this year, chief executive officer (CEO) of the GEA, Dr Mahender Sharma, said that Guyana will approach the Islamic Development Bank to finance three additional hydro-powered sites – Ikuribisi hydro which will serve Bartica, Moco Moco and Kumu to benefit disadvantaged indigenous communities in the interior of the country.
“We want to rehabilitate the Moco-Moco hydropower station, which was defunct as a result of a landslide; and we want to look at a new site right in region nine on the Kanuku Mountain range, the Kumu falls, which together can serve the growing demand in Lethem,” Dr Sharma said.
In Guyana, the Islamic Bank team had meetings with GEA for several days to finalize these projects and they are expected to be approved soon when the mission returns to Jeddah.
The project aims to provide residents with reliable and affordable energy said the Guyana finance ministry. Guyana is blessed with vast solar and hydro-energy potential; however, it needs the technology and capital to do so.
There is more urgency to do so now that the country is poised to become a major oil and gas producer on the world market beginning in 2020.
Minister Jordan, who is also Guyana’s governor to the Islamic Bank, and members of his ministry had meetings with the group. Besides, the Islamic Bank also met with relevant ministries and agencies, as well as other development partners in Guyana, to firm up the list of projects and programmes for IsDB financing.
The bank is expected to open a regional office in Paramaribo in 2020 and has already identified the staff who will be based in Suriname. The president of Suriname, Desire Bouterse, is eager to have the office open soon and has given the bank his government’s full support in securing land and space to have the office up and running.