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Taking Ownership of Our Growth Process PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Baimba Sesay-China   
Friday, 02 June 2017 19:22

Roads infrastructure is a complex issue from the perspective of economic growth.  Problems with roads, rail, energy, telecommunications “and other infrastructure” are often seen as  chief constraints to economic growth in Africa, writes Charles Abuka in a paper, titled, Infrastructure, Regional Integration and Growth in Africa and published in ‘Africa in the World Economy The National, Regional and International Challenges’

 That said, the continent has made great improvement over the last 15 years, in the road sector, both in institutional and financing terms.  Kenya, in East Africa, just launched its standard gauge railway (SGR) line to run between Mombasa, East Africa’s largest seaport, and Nairobi. 

The $3.2 billion China-built railway “promises to one day link together much of East Africa, ushering in a golden era of prosperity for the region…” On another positive note, reports further state, “the 470 km line cuts the trip from Mombasa to Nairobi to just four-and-a-half hours, compared to 12 hours aboard the old, outdated railway” ( ). This is a leap in economic growth in terms of trade facilitation and movement of people.



Other key factor to growth in road infrastructure is toll roads. They today are an efficient means in tackling traffic congestion and in revenue generation. Third world countries have also taken the challenge, with countries like South Africa, Kenya, Senegal amongst others making   use of tolls, thus contributions to their economic growth.

In Senegal, for instance, the World Bank, in 2008 “estimated that Dakar’s traffic troubles were costing Senegal at least 42 billion West African CFA francs (about US$86 million at the time) per year, or 0.64% of 2008’s gross domestic product.”   The Dakar–Diamniadio toll highway, opened in 2013, brought about “greater use than expected and alleviated congestion in the capital”, helping also in reducing commuting time between Dakar and its neighborhood from above 2 hours to less than 30 minutes. (Source: A New Route To Development: Senegal’s Toll Highway Public-Private Partnership, 2003 – 2013)

Infrastructural transformation, President Ernest Koroma recently said, is “a catalyst for growth and development.” Under his watch, Sierra Leone has seen huge investment in the infrastructure sector especially in roads and other social infrastructure.

In 2016, March, the country’s parliament ratified an agreement for the widening of the Wellington-Masiaka Highway into four-lanes (62 Km) between the Government and China Railway Seventh Group on a BOT platform- to Build, Operate, and Transfer.

The Chinese investors are expected to recover their investment through toll collection during the life of agreement (25 years) before transferring the highway to the government. The road will contain three toll stations with 1/3 of the total toll to be paid and collected at each of the toll stations. 

Isaac Sebakijje outlines the benefits for this method.  Toll collection, he writes in Rwanda’s ‘The New Times’ online newspaper “provides an accelerated mechanism for financing construction and maintenance. This is far better than traditional tax based or costly borrowed funds.”

When completed, the Wellington-Masiaka Highway is expected to ease traffic and boost trade through timely and effective business transaction.  It also will lead to an increase in road safety. But we also have to pay a price for this for it is clear, that development goes with a price.

We admire the growth progress nations like Ghana, Rwanda and even Kenya are making, however ignoring the sacrifices they made, and are still making for them to be where they are today. Change of mindset is crucial here and this remains a primary challenge for us as a country.

Again, civil right groups, politicians and the media play are fundamental in all of this. When an opposition politician speaks against a decision he himself took part in, by way of voting in parliament for approval, it becomes another issue altogether.

There is the aspect of public education, which remains vital to development issues like having a toll. But should this only be limited to central government? In my view it should be a collective effort.     

Sierra Leoneans should take ownership of their development by leading not from the back. We should not indulge in having our development partners to do all, including what is expected of us for claim of ownership. We have to start somewhere.  The government has provided the leadership, what is required of us is meeting our responsibilities as citizens.

We need good roads, proper housing facilities and good educational institutions, but maintaining the view of getting them cheap or at no cost. This practically is unrealistic and not helpful in our drive to becoming a middle income nation. Let us take ownership of our development process. We just cannot wait.




2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul


The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.


Business News


The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the request of the Management of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) on Thursday 20th July, 2017 commenced anti- bribery and anti-corruption training with staff of the Bank.

The training which was held in the Bank's Conference Room 9th Floor, Christian Smith Building 29/31 Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown attracted over twenty members of the Executive Management.

Addressing colleagues, the Managing Director, SLCB, Idrissa Aloma Kamara disclosed that the Bank has integrated into the Bank's operations anti-corruption measures, such as the development of anti-corruption policy, anti-graft messages inscribed on Bank Statements and sensitization of staff on the dangers of corruption. With all these, the MD stated, it is the view of the Bank that the ACC which is the statutory body responsible for the campaign against corruption be brought in, to provide awareness training on anti-bribery issues for an efficient and effective banking system.


Media News

Freedom of Expression Violations Rise Sharply in West Africa

The incidents of freedom of expression rights violations in West Africa more than tripled in the first quarter (January-March) of 2017.

Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.

These findings are contained in the latest edition of the West Africa Freedom of Expression Monitor, a quarterly report by the MFWA which analyses and highlights freedom of expression developments in the sub-region.





 Your Excellency Sir,
 It’s been six months since I subscribed to my usual publications of this piece. And this is primarily because I have been out of the country for the entire period, and as such would not normally objectively tender a subscription. I do apologize to my readers for this. So having being in Monrovia, Liberia for the recently concluded ECOWAS Summit, I would like to do some analysis on such a historic august body and gathering of this sub-Saharan/West African region.
In resume, among other crucial achievements, ECOWAS, through its military apparatus, ECOMOG, played very sacrificial and invaluable roles in bringing peace, security and democratic governance to both Sierra Leone and Liberia during their past civil wars, and most recently ensuring that the Gambian people’s democratic change of government from the notorious dictatorial twenty seven years regime of Yaya Jarmeh, to the current government of President Adama Barrow, through their tactical robust intervention, overseen by President Helen JohnsonSirleaf of Liberia and other ECOWAS Presidents/actors, was enforced. Furthermore, ECOWAS has also spearheaded the enactment of several socio-political, advocacy and economic treaties in the sub region.

View Point


Honestly speaking Sierra Leoneans are well known for their hospitality all over the world, especially in Africa. But ironically many of them hate each other. But they love foreigners. They have high respect for strangers. But unfortunately they do not have respect among themselves. You can attest this to what is happening in the social media. Where they are showing their pull him down (PhD) syndrome. By castigating their compatriots unnecessarily. Some of them just because of jealousy and envious evil spirit they possess. They prefer to promote foreigners than their own brothers and sisters both in and out of the country.

Day in day out they are insulting each other.They are using all sorts of vulgar languages against each other. And even their own highly respected president in the world, President Ernest Bai Koroma they are insulting him openly. Therefore, it is an open secret that many Sierra Leoneans are not well cultured.


News - Press Release

Regent village head calls on LAB to tackle domestic violence

The village head for Regent, Ms. Jokomie Browne has called on the Legal Aid Board to help curb the increase in incidence of domestic violence in the Regent Community in the outskirts of the capital Freetown.

Ms. Browne wants the Board to hold outreach events in the village to educate the people on issues of law relating to domestic violence, gender, women’s rights, redress mechanisms and support services for victims.

‘We want to benefit from the Legal Aid Board’s Legal Empowerment Programme because there is an urgent need for one in the community,’ Ms. Browne told the Executive Director of the Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles on the phone. ‘The situation is desperate. I am afraid if you do not come in now the situation could spiral out of control.’

The call follows series of referral of victims of domestic violence to the Legal Aid Board office in Freetown. The latest victim sent to the Board is one Baindu who was battered by her boyfriend Borbor Abu in the presence of their one year old son.


Society -Local News

250 LAB trains staff on Alternative Dispute Resolution

A hundred and twenty-five staff and volunteers of the Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board including lawyers and paralegals have benefited from a four-day training on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the Stadium Hostels in Freetown from the 24 to the 27 July 2017.

Other beneficiaries include the WAN POT Comedians, members of the National Youth Coalition and six senior officers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). The latter includes the highest ranking female military officer, Brigadier Kestoria Kabia and the Director of Gender and Equal Opportunities at the Ministry of Defence Col. Tucker.

The training is aimed at equipping staff and partners with the requisite skills and techniques required for effective and efficient ADR. Moreover, the trainees should be able to use ADR as an alternative to litigation and using effective skill of arbitration, mediation, negotiation and active listening. 



30 Staff of the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development will go China for Seminar on Economic Planning

Thirty (30) staff of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will depart the shore of Freetown to China on 14th August 2017. The purpose of their trip is to attend a seminar on Medium and Long-Term Economic planning for Sierra Leone. The National Development and Reform Commission of China will organize the seminar from 16th August to 7th September 2017 in the capital city of Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

The Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Freetown, Mr. Shen Xiaokai met with the 30 participants at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) on 2rd August 2017. In his remarks he told the participants that in December 2016, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Momodu Kargbo visited China, where they had high level bilateral meetings with Chinese Government Officials. 

He said this seminar is as a result of those meetings. “When China makes a commitment, China will fulfil it” he reiterated. He said The Ministry of Finance is one of the most important ministries in this country, therefore this seminar was designed specifically to meet the needs of the ministry.



News from China, June 28th: Youth Affairs Minister addresses 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development in Beijing, China
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Youth Affairs has said, the 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development hosted by the Chinese government should help enhance the ties of friendship and foster the wheels of bilateral cooperation between the two nations and particularly strengthen cooperation in the field of human resource development.
Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura spoke on Wednesday, 28th June, 2017, at the start of the week long Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation, which has brought together participants from various countries, including eight (8) from Sierra Leone.
According to minister Bangura, in line with the spirit of friendship and cooperation, the event could serve as an opportunity to jointly define new strategic directions in Sierra Leone’s ties with China and in opening up another episode of friendship and cooperation between the two.
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