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470 km line cuts the trip from Mombasa to Nairobi to just four-and-a-half hours, compared to 12 hours aboard the old, outdated railway” (http://shanghaiist.com/ ).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

 

 

Editorial

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.

Read more...

Business News

Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone

John D. Okrafo-Smart, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone and gives his insight into the banking landscape.

Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.

Read more...

Media News

Two veteran Journalists, now in the United States have paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador

Two very respected and veteran Journalists who are in the United States of America for various reasons have called on Sierra Leone’s Amr. Bockari Kortu Stevens not only to appreciate the work of the Embassy, but also to pay courtesy as protocol demands.

Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson, former Lecturer Fourah Bay College, former Director of Information Ministry of Information and Communications, Former Director Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Former Chairman Independent Media Commission (IMC) and stringer French News Agency  etc. is on vacation and Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith Director Information and Communications House of Parliament, former Acting Director General Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and former UNESCO Media Consultant  is in the United States of America to attend the funeral of his father.

Speaking at the Ambassador’s residence on 4821 Colorado Avenue, Washington DC  Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson said “Thank  you Amr. Stevens for accommodating us in the middle of your tight schedule, and also to discuss with us in a homely spirit.

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Commentary

Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”

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View Point

The APC Convention: A political façade, if not a joke!

Thanks to AYV partnered by AFCOM, I was able to followthe live coverage of the APC and SLPP conventions on my mobile phone from my base in the UK.It was good that both conventions took place simultaneously last week end (October 15-16, 2017) because, at the very least, it provided the opportunity to those keenly following the two historic events to compare and contrast them, not least in terms of democratic processes and procedures. Let me start by talking about how I saw the APC convention held in Makeni, then compare,and contrast it with what I saw at the SLPP convention held in Freetown.

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News - Press Release

EU Election Exploratory Mission meets Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

(MFAIC Press Office, 18th October, 2017). The European Union Election Exploratory Mission to Sierra Leone led by Head of European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, H.E. Tom Vens has paid a working visit to the Minister, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and Senior Management Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at the Ministry’s office in Tower Hill, Freetown.

Ambassador Tom Vens stated that the EU Election Exploratory Mission is in Sierra Leone following an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone for EU Electoral assistance, and to further discuss the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating EU Observer Mission for the March 2018 elections in the country. The EU Election Exploratory Missionas part of its mandate is in the country to draft and finalise the MOU with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry.

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Society -Local News

The State of World Population 2017: Unchecked inequality and failure to protect the rights of poorest women could undermine peace and world’s development goals, new UNFPA report warns

• Only about half of the world’s women hold paid jobs

• Globally, women earn 77 per cent of what men get

• Three in five women worldwide lack maternity leave, many pay “motherhood penalty”

Freetown, SIERRA LEONE, 17 October 2017-Unless inequality is urgently tackled and the poorest women empowered to make their own decisions about their lives, countries could face unrest and threats to peace and development, according the The State of World Population 2017, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

The costs of inequalities, including in sexual and reproductive health and rights, could extend to the entire global community’s goals, adds the new UNFPA report, entitled, “Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights in an Age of Inequality.”

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Development

U.S. Ambassador launches National Early Warning Systems Project, funded by USAID

On Wednesday, October 18, U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, announced the official launch of the USAID West Africa-funded “Mitigating Election Violence through National Early Warning Systems” (NEWS) project and the inauguration of the National Elections Response Group in Sierra Leone.

Supported by $500,000 from USAID, NEWS is implemented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Sierra Leone. The focus is to monitor and identify potential electoral violence triggers and assist government and non-government organizations in Sierra Leone to better mitigate them.
The National Elections Response Group (NERG) is a partnership under the NEWS project, between WANEP, the Inter-Religious Council, the Campaign for Good Governance, government stakeholders, representatives from the National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of National Security (ONS) and a number of civil society organizations.

The primary objective of the National Elections Response Group (NERG) is to monitor the elections environment, develop, and recommend strategies and actions to relevant stakeholders with authority to implement necessary response actions to prevent escalation of tensions or incidence of violence for a peaceful 2018 election. Members of the NERG will work closely with WANEP, the Integrated Election Security Planning Committee under the ONS, Provincial and District Election Security Committees – PROSEC and DISEC with an extensive network of civil society organizations and with 60 community monitors across the country to identify potential risks of electoral violence.

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Politics

PRESIDENT KOROMA SAYS… “I am very proud of Ansumana Usman Koroma”

President Dr Ernest BaiKoroma has informed Sierra Leoneans that, “I am very proud that we have people like Ansumana. We need many more Ansumana Usman Koromas that will go out there as Ambassadors of our country, showing and telling a good story about Sierra Leone.”

Whilst speaking at his Presidential office in Freetown, President Koroma affirmed that, “I am very proud of Ansumana and I am encouraging him to do more by helping his people.”

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