Case #2022.0

Buchanan Renewables: Bringing Power to Liberia

Publication Date: December 18, 2014
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This case focuses on a proposal to build two, 17 megawatt facilities to provide power to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The country has just come out of a bitter civil war in which almost all of its power system was destroyed. The case can be taught as an energy case—comparing the alternative supply option—or as an infrastructure case—looking at the question, should Liberia pursue a project that can supply power quickly to create hundreds of jobs, but one that key donor agencies believe is overpriced and would place an untenable financial burden on the Liberian Electric Company (the state-owned distribution company)? This case allows for a discussion of energy alternatives for developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It also raises the tough question of deciding between meeting short-term political and energy goals versus pursuing less expensive options that might not be available for 4-6 years.

Learning Objective:
The case can serve as the basis for class discussions in either of two main areas. First, it allows for a discussion of electric generation options in a poor, developing country with only a small amount of existing capacity. How does such a country shape a strategy to meet its future power needs and what should be included in that strategy? Second, it can be taught as an infrastructure case in a post-war environment as part of a broader course in economic development. How should a country coming out of a terrible civil war respond to a proposal to provide significant economic benefits a two year time frame, but at a cost which international donor institutions believe is untenable for the country?

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Tamara Heimur
Faculty Lead:
Henry Lee and Akash Deep
Pages (incl. exhibits):