Stakeholder decision-making: Understanding Sierra Leone’s energy sector

Abstract

The Sierra Leone energy sector suffers from multiple problems of inadequate capacity and finance. Most of the population does not have access to electricity, and supply is often unreliable. At the same time the country has been trying to implement significant structural and economic reforms, aimed both at government policy objectives and more market-driven operation. The focus of this paper is to achieve a better understanding of current decision-making processes and issues in terms of their impact on inception, planning, implementation and operation of projects. This should assist consideration of organisation and governance for the sector. The method has been to apply the Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) matrix with surveys of key actors in the sector including ministries, utilities and regulatory bodies, development partners and independent power producers. These were predominantly middle or senior managers most closely associated with the electrification. An initial online survey with 11 key informants allowed us to identify important linkages in decision-making processes. A further 16 face-to-face interviews with 30 interviewees added depth and helped identify weaknesses and challenges. Key findings relate to the conflicting frameworks of market driven pressures and government or policy driven objectives, and the lack of a clear pathway for change. Resulting problems include misaligned goals, unclear or inconsistent communication channels and ambiguous responsibilities. At the same time the sector is hindered by a lack of capacity, insufficient finance and threats from ‘briefcase organisations’. The paper also discusses some key remedies for these issues which include streamlined decision-making processes, clearly defined stakeholder roles and improved communication channels.

Description

open access article

Keywords

Citation

Hirmer, S., George-Williams, H., Rhys, J., McNicholl, D. and McCulloch, M. (2021) Stakeholder decision-making: Understanding Sierra Leone's energy sector. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 145, 111093.

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Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)