$50 Million World Bank grant for Sierra Leone’s urban development and disaster management

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 June 2021:

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a $50 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) for Sierra Leone’s Resilient Urban Project.

The project will improve integrated urban management, service delivery, and disaster risk management in the Western Area and selected district capitals across the country. It will help address the needs of the capital Freetown as the economic engine of Sierra Leone, while catering to the unique opportunities and challenges in the district capitals: Bo, Makeni, Kenema, Koidu, Port Loko and Bonthe.

The project will support an integrated spatial approach to the multisectoral urban development challenges facing the country, including integrated urban planning, own-source revenue enhancement, infrastructure upgrading, solid waste management, and disaster preparedness and management, with the aim to support and advance liveable, well-planned, financially sustainable, and productive urban centres.

It complements a range of government programs, World Bank projects, and development partners’ support to leverage maximum impact for the people of Sierra Leone.

“The lack of defined urban policies on land use and management of public investments continue to hamper sound urban management, particularly in district capitals,” said Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.

“This project offers a major opportunity to ensure well managed urbanization that supports growth, investment, and community aspirations. Furthermore, given Sierra Leone’s vulnerability to climate-related shocks, this project supports the country’s disaster risk management capacity, contributing to sustainability and resilience.”

Sierra Leone’s urban population has almost doubled in the past five decades, with over 40 percent of the population now living in urban areas. The country is highly exposed to a range of natural hazards with recurrent flooding and landslides posing the greatest risks, thus disrupting economic and social functions, and imposing high public and private costs for rehabilitation.

This disaster and flood risk is further compounded by extremely limited solid waste management capacity, which has not kept pace with urbanization, especially in Freetown, hampering the city’s liveability.

Presently, only 25 percent of the city’s waste is transported to its overflowing dump sites, while the remaining (more than 300 tons per day) is buried, burned, or dumped in waterways or drains. Waste clog the already insufficient stormwater drainage system, exacerbating flood risks and the prevalence of vector-borne diseases.

The project will enhance the overall solid waste management system, including the construction of a new landfill in Freetown, and sustainable solutions in selected district capitals to operate and maintain their waste management systems and keep ahead of their projected population growth.

“The project aims to build basic foundations to help city councils guide resilient urban development. Over the longer-term, it aims to strengthen cities’ institutional and financial capacity and develop the appropriate integrated urban planning tools and service delivery infrastructure to enable the country to fully capture urbanization dividends,” said Tiguist Fisseha, World Bank Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist and project Task Team Leader.

The total cost of the project is $56.73 million, of which $50 million is financed by the World Bank and $6.73 million from the Global Environment Facility.


  1. Totally agree with you Mr Sorie. You couldn’t have perform a better political assessment, and a postmortem of the carcass of our country, that is lying at the bottomless pit of under development anywhere, and every where in the Africa. All our problems are man made. And the saddest part of it all, is done by your fellow countrymen and women, who claimed their unholy allegiance to Sierra Leone.”MADE IN SIERRA LEONE”, has never been so candidly discribed in words that goes to the heart of the matter, that has brought us nothing but suffering and underdevelopment since independence. Come to think of it, our country is not like any other country in Africa. With its tiny population and abundance of both human, and natural resources. If only we have uncorrupted leaders, that thinks outside the box, our country will not need any international financial institutional bailouts.

    IMF and World Bank, we don’t need their assistance, that shackle us in debts for generations yet unborn. Put our resources to good use, our diamond shaped country will not only be known as the Athens of West Africa, but the Singapore, or Hong-Kong of West Africa. But for reasons best known to our political classes, they chose to steal from the state rather than give back to the state that define them as Sierra Leoneans. This politically induced lack of development is the old theoretical construct under which our country have been govern since independence. That is why, there is an over arching need for reform the way our country is govern. We need a healthy and reform civil service. They are the elephant that looms large in the room that no one ever talks about. Governments come and go, but the real people that change the fortune of a country, are the civil servants.

    Here you have a government that under takes regeneration for the sole purpose of displacing, and dispossesing opposition supporters of their lands and properties, with little or nor guarantee they will ever get their day in court, in favour of their state clientelism, or supporters. The Bio government with the backing of the IMF have managed to conceptualise the two as nuanced characteristics, and unashamedly define it or label it as urban development projects, so the funding tap never dries up. In fact those pet projects should be seen as nothing less, like a fishing expedition, to see how many unsuspecting fishes or voters, Bio the fisherman can catch in the vast ocean of ignorance,and want, of which majority of his voters can be found . The best way to stop this rot, is vote with our heads not our hearts.

  2. The government keeps receiving all these loans and grants, but where are the visible evidences of targeted projects? In any case why does the government always have to rely on foreign help for nearly everything? Where is our national pride? We keep hearing billions of Leones going missing at various government departments, and Bio cannot get off his backside to do something about it. Such monies as are going missing all the time can be harnessed to start and complete many minor projects in the country. If Bio is not going around begging, he is engaged in selling parcels of the country to the Chinese. He poses a real danger to the nation, lining it up for a war of liberation in the future when he will be most likely dead,

    The nation should not look to APC for salvation either. The findings of COI should be the guideline and reinforcement of this fact. A bloodless revolution is what the nation needs to kill and dismember both APC and SLPP at the ballot box. They have had more than half a century to make us smile, but no, they reduce us to tears all the time. They see people dying around them all the time because of malnutrition, but they suffer no pangs of conscience. They use tribalism and regionalism all the time to curtail the mental capacity of the people to make them use emotions rather than objective judgment when casting their ballot.

    Only the Almighty knows where the $50 million grant will end up. Surely Bio and his gangsters are now cracking their brains with the Arithmetic as to how to apply simple division to ensure that no member of the gang is left out, especially the top echelon. One thing should not be in doubt: Bio will use of the money to go on yet another honeymoon with his wife- hiring a private jet for the purpose. I have lost count of the number of times the Bios have mysteriously disappeared only to surface in some distant to renew their vows. Somebody help me please.

  3. This grant from the world bank for urban regeneration is welcome. But will it benefit the people that live in our crowded cities, or is the $50 million dollars earmarked for Freetown, and the other cities named in this report going to end up in the pockets of some corrupt government officials with nothing to show for it? Time and time again, the world Bank, the IMF, the African Development Bank, have opened their wallets and showered Bio and his government, with millions of dollars,but until this international financial institutions starts auditing, and demands transparency the way this funds are distributed, chances are we will still be talking about the decaying cities long after we’ve seen the back of this incompetent Bio government. Or are they going to prove me wrong? Thats the million dollar question still hanging out there.

    This urban environmental disaster, mostly associated with large disorderly movement of people from the rural areas to urban centres like Freetown, Bo, Makeni and Kenema, can create an almighty head aches for city authorities, and city planners alike , as they grapple with the new arrivals that have little or no knowledge of how to integrate themselves in urban settings. They creat untidy spaces, more air population, more foot traffice competing with Okeke or Ocada riders, with little or no regards for the highy way code, with decaying infrastructure, and inadequate waste management, makes it the perfect storm for environmental disasters in the waiting. As Freetown had experienced in recent years with flooding.

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