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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470 km line cuts the trip from Mombasa to Nairobi to just four-and-a-half hours, compared to 12 hours aboard the old, outdated railway” ( ).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.




26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


Business News


The Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday 04th December 2017 debated and ratified two additional agreements aimed at improving and expanding Ports facilities in Sierra Leone to be at par with international best practices.

Presenting both Agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma said that the additional Agreements are geared towards addressing some of the concerns raised by MPs, in respect of expanding our Ports facilities to accommodate larger vessels, and the issuance of license with the view of combating money laundering, contra-band goods, and attracting more funds for Government.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House, also supported the ratification of the two Agreements, saying if our Ports are not developed, we would not be able to attract huge vessels; thus the need for the continuous improvement of our Ports facilities.


Media News

"President Koroma is a big disappointment to press freedom" - SLAJ

Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, has said that President Ernest Bai Koroma has disappointed the media on press freedom in the country. 

“Successive governments have given us false hopes on the repeal of the criminal libel law. The politicians have lied to us. They have taken us to be big fools. President Koroma is our biggest disappointment. We had high hopes in him but he failed us woefully. So we will not trust any politician again, because when they get into office they forget about their promises,” said Nasralla.
Nasralla was speaking last Friday while formally launching a report on criminal defamation laws in Africa by PEN Sierra Leone at the SLAJ Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall, Campbell Street, Freetown. 
He recalled that before he was first elected President of the Republic in 2007, President Koroma was a staunch campaigner against criminal libel law in Sierra Leone, but when he became President he suddenly had a different view.


Reasons why Sierra Leoneans Must Think beyond Tribal and Regional Lines Before Casting their Ballots This Time

As the national or general elections loom in Sierra Leone and, as a true citizen, I solemnly pray and hope with all hopes that Sierra Leoneans of the voting age will consider carefully who they would vote for, come March 2018. The divisive and immature nature of politics as it exists in Sierra Leone has, to a greater extent, contributed to the country lagging behind nearly all other countries in terms of progressive development. My readers should be mindful of the fact that certain countries in Africa would rather develop retrogressively than progressively, a situation wherein governments embark on ego-boosting programs that aren’t beneficial to the average citizen.

A government which expends its energy for the benefit of the people is a progressive government and that is what Sierra Leoneans want at this time after being in the doldrums for ages. It is therefore absolutely necessary for fellow citizens to refrain from casting their valued votes in favor of candidates because of tribal or regional affiliations but on how genuine and capable that candidate is, otherwise stagnation in progress is bound to follow.


View Point

Youth Unemployment Is A Killer Virus In Sierra Leone

“I studied Sociology at NjalaUniversity and graduated in 2015 but still unemployed despite several interviews being attended. I am currently awaiting my MSc at Njala University which is to be awarded early next year,” said 29 year old MabintyKamara.

“I graduated in 2012 with Honours from the Department of Accounting, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. I have sent several job applications; the only long job I got was with the International Medical Corps during the deadly Ebola virus and since then no job. I was also a volunteer teacher but the Minister of Education, Science and Technology did not approve me and others after almost a year of voluntary service so I quit,” said 31 year old Mohamed LaminKanneh.

In Sierra Leone, despite the numerous promises made by President Ernest BaiKoroma to figuratively ‘lay his life for the youth,’ unemployment among youth is one of the highest with no end in sight to reduce the spate of this social menace. According to the United Nations Development Program, approximately 70% of youth are underemployed or unemployed and an estimated 800,000 youth today are actively searching for employment.


News - Press Release

Sierra Leone receives US$10 Million Supplemental Financing from World Bank as support to Landslide and Flooding

FREETOWN, December 13, 2017 —The World Bank Group has approved aSupplemental Financing (SF) in the amount of US$10 million to help the Government of Sierra Leone meet immediate needs associated with the landslide and flooding disaster that struck Freetown on August 14, 2017.The SF is a grant, provided as a supplemental budget support operation that will flow directly into the Government’s budget.

The funding, under the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), will ensure that the reforms supported under thisoperation remain on track and are implemented without the risk of delays due to competing capacity or budgetary priorities arising from the post-disaster recovery. It will also help with the rebuilding of critical infrastructuredestroyed during the landslide and flooding.

Since the end of the Ebola epidemic, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has initiated substantive reforms to boost productivity, restore fiscal stability, and gradually rebuild buffers. The Government initiated substantive reforms, focusing on agriculture, fisheries and energy, supported by the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), to boost productivity and start rebuilding the country's buffers.


Society -Local News

Fatmata Binta Jalloh Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School has won this years’ Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Inter-Secondary School debate on the topic ‘respect for human rights as a pre-requisite for a politically tolerant and peaceful 2018 elections’.  
The debate which was held at the Sierra Leone Library Board with five Secondary Schools participating is part of series of activities undertaken by HRCSL in commemorating the International Human Rights Day Celebration on December 10th, 2017. Fatmata Binta Jalloh of the Annie Walsh Memorial School came first by defeating Amos Claudius Gordon from the Prince of Wales who came second, Abubakar Marrah from Saint Edwards Secondary School came third and Kelfala Kamara of the Government Model Secondary School came fourth and Evelyn T. Ahorney from the Saint Joseph’s Secondary School coming fifth.


World Bank Group Boosts Financing for West African Power Pool Regional Power Transmission Project

FREETOWN, December13, 2017 —The World Bank Group on November 17, 2017 approved Additional Financing in the amount of US$59.57 million to West African Power Pool (WAPP) - Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea (CLSG) PowerInterconnection Project, which aims to increase electricity supply in the four participating countries.

The project will interconnect the four participating countries into the 225 kV (kilo volt) regional energy market in West Africa, and will also enable the connection to the WAPP of the planned hydropower plants in Bumbuna Extension, Yiben and Bekongor in Sierra Leone and Mount Coffee in Liberia and other future generation projects.

The Project will provide residents of Greater Monrovia Area in Liberia; Bo, Kenema and the Western Areas in Sierra Leone; and the Forest Region of Guinea, with improvements in power supplies in the short-term. It also pursues a regional infrastructure developmental approach that will provide over the medium- to long-term adequate electricity to the people of the four countries in a more efficient and cost effective way, boosting economic and social development.



It will not be Business as Usual…Bio assures Diaspora

He was passionate, confident and assuring as he addressed hundreds of Sierra Leoneans at the prestigious Royal Regency Hall in London on Saturday 9th December 2017 with a very simple message that as the next President it will not be business as usual. For a man who has a solid track record as a disciplinarian, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio continues to attract many voters who feel the country needs a strong and disciplined leadership.

Cataloguing the current state of the country, Bio spoke about a divided country, the poor drowning in poverty, rich swimming in affluence, poor governance, battered economy, high public debt, third hungriest country, high inflation among others . He also reminded his audience that many of the things which necessitated the war such as bad governance, mismanagement of the economy, injustice have been the features of the current APC Government.

However, Bio's message was not just about the doom and gloom but also making a case why he is the right choice that the country needs. He spoke about his track record, experience and how he has always put his country first. "Some have come with slogan, country first, but I served my country first at a very tender age. I did not go around the world to work and come back old to say country first. When I was young I gave my life to our country," a passionate Bio said.

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