Cable car transport system for Freetown makes sense economically, socially and environmentally

Dr Doma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 April 2023:

In a bid to transform Freetown into  a more inclusive city, which will be easily accessible and visibly attractive to investors, tourists and residents, Mayor of Freetown Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr had engaged international Consultants, Markus Hagspiel, a ropeway/Cable Car expert, Teferra Sileshi of GFA Heat and members of the American Institute of Architects who were all in Freetown this April 2023 to carefully strategize and plan well as Freetown is about to institute the first Cable car in the West African City.

The Cable Car Project feasibility study was launched back in June 2022 by Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr and will end in March 2024. It is obvious that the consultants, experts and stakeholders have ensured that every aspect of the project is considered with the utmost care taken to make sure such a development in our city is well implemented and becomes a reality.

In an exclusive interview with Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr she said, the cable car project  is a key component of her vision to transform Freetown as this cable car project is geared towards reducing traffic congestion and air pollution which are serious factors affecting our city in this day and age.

She maintained that modern transport options such as a cable car system will also help generate revenue for the city and a way of improving the daily lives of residents in Freetown.

The Cable Car initiative for Freetown emanated from the C40 cities resolution to eradicate climate change and to reduce carbon emissions. Carbon emissions are generated from the burning of fossils fuel, and the smoke that comes out of exhaust pipes is bad for people’s health.

Conversely, the Cable Cars will be powered by solar energy, an alternative energy that will support the city’s objective to reduce carbon emissions.

As former Vice Chair of the C40 Innovative cities, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr met with the former mayor of Medellin in November 2019 in Durban, South Africa, which was the first city in the world to initiate the cable car as a form of mass transport in 2014. Later in November 2022, members of the Mayor’s Delivery Unit working on the Cable Car project visited Medellin for a study visit.

Since the 2019 conversation with former Mayor of Medellin, the Freetown Cable Car project has moved from an idea to a firm concept to a pre-feasibility and now leading to a full feasibility study.

Because of her zest to see that Freetown is being transformed she was able to apply for an eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000) grant to conduct a full-feasibility study for the introduction of the cable car in Freetown, with the C40 cities finance facility and GIZ  acting as implementing partners and whose mandate is to structure the finances.

According to experts, the cable car is mostly used as a detachable gondola, rarely as an aerial tramway or funicular. The cable car is a ropeway technology to be used for the very first time in Sierra Leone. This technology is gradually increasing in cities around the world and serves as a supplement to conventional means of transportation.

In general, the cable car technology can serve as an inexpensive, quickly realizable, and reliable subsystem of local public passenger transport.

It offers a special travel experience in urban areas, as it allows people to glide above the city and, an extremely robust service-proven experience gained in operations on mountains etc. This is because it is totally independent of existing road and rail infrastructures.

Studies by renowned institutes confirm that cable car technology have an exceptional good Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) compared to conventional means of transportation, with low operating speeds but no waiting times. Urban cable cars operate fully automated, and the maintenance requirements are low. According to experts it can take up to 6,000 people per hour and on a constant speed from point A to Point B.

Speaking to the visiting consultants, they assured Freetonians that, the cable car is a safe mode of transportation and very good solution to the many challenges faced in our city Freetown.

The experts advised to do regular checks either monthly or daily to avoid mechanical breakdown but promised to do a lot of trainings for our locals to ensure the sustainability of this technology.

Many Freetonians were happy for this new means of transport and promised to support Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr to ensure what she has started in Freetown becomes a reality.



  1. Brother Leo, it appears the critics regarding this proposed cable car by the mayor, are a bit out of step. Like you pointed out, their criticism fails to factor in the limitations of a mayoral position, particularly so in Sierra Leone political dispensation where almost every governance and developmental policies and powers are vested within the central government.

    Over the past several years, the mayor encountered numerous challenges with cabinet members harassing and accosting her while trying to exercise her mandate.

    Above is link reporting on one of numerous stifling of the mayor developmental goals. Face with such hindrance from the central government and barely any vested power or revenue sources to implement any major infrastructural project, I am not sure how her critics expected her to transform Freetown into a modern city.

    If we are to revisit our history, for the past 30years or so, Freetown has never had a mayor like Ms. Yvonne, whose developmental orientation has not only catapult her into a global figure, her zest to transform Freetown has always driven her to seek outside investment opportunities for her locality. So whether you are a fan of hers or not, her accomplishment and efforts remain to be beaten by any other local politician.

  2. May I remind the two commentators that she is the Mayor of Freetown. Not the President, Minister of Finance or anything. Just a simple Mayor. Light Rail, good idea, problem is due to successive corrupt governments, there is no viable land. Maada is handing out Freetown to his tribal brothers, because they don’t have any land. Kailahun and Bo are villages of course. Secondly, Light rail is not for the transportation of heavy goods. The imposition of a tourist tax is not under the remit of the Mayor.

    Lungi, let me ask a question. Is there a problem with the rest of Sierra Leone? Why are you all living like cockroaches in the slums of Freetown, when we have a vast country. Democracy, if the people of the provinces do not have access to their land and are at the dictatorial whims of their chiefs, this needs to be resolved. The low intelligence of Sierra Leoneans is a byword in West Africa.

    • This is toxic thinking Mr. Africanus. Your low intelligence makes you toxic but at the same time, you pretend to be smart!! Have you ever heard of Cairo, Istanbul, Mexico City etc. these are over populated major cities. These cities are in countries far, far bigger than Salone, but your tribal bias of course blocks the simple logic of thinking. People like you are comfortable glorifing the colonial past including the aftermath of SLAVERY and exactly this mental slavery is what is making you think and behave in this toxic manner towards your fellow SIERRA LEONEANS. Freetown as the rest of the country is for all PEACE loving SALONE PEOPLE.

  3. Party political just before elections. I’m a white tourist so no ties to salone.
    Mayor sawyers is wrong how will it help tourist and be attractive to them. The daunting prospect of catching crumbling unsafe ferry from lungi side to free town is scary enough. You have so much rain and frequent landslides were is it safe to do cable car .its for the rich . Start of cable car point A will be crowded as you need transport to get to cable car. Point B the finish with be crowded with cars as you need to go on forward journey . Do the poor classes live in the mountains no its the rich elite who this is for. Fix your sanitisation issues helpneveryone have clean water and toilets let them live longer this vanity project wont help freetonians . If you want tourist stop the taxes on us .visa tax paid 2 times each way as its already in price of airline ticket. Then there expensive ferry . Make a tourist area of lungi make it easy for us. This will help that area and solve problems that there is in freetown like overcrowding dangerous transport . Keep us away from the unsightly pan body’s with the stench that comes from them with the raw sewage. Start afresh a modern vibrant well planned tourist area lungi side . Be forward thinking like gambia became touristvbrings in money and new standards and development to your country .you do not try to attract tourists at present just put them off.

  4. I acknowledge Dr. Doma’ enthusiasm for cable cars. I believe their employment could pin our city as a revolutionary energy efficient transport zone.
    Here’s the rub…is our priority ‘Most popular, or ‘Most Pragmatic’? I have no desire to suffer strabismus in my latter days; one eye viewing cable cars, the other roving over filth on the streets. I’d be elated though, if I could buy fresh plasas harvested this morning in Waterloo or Mambo, brought to Freetown via light urban rail. Light rail would encourage him and her to develop and live outside mainline Freetown. Incidentally, it would be a gift to klin salone….less garbage.
    Light rail, let’s say…Waterloo to Cline Town/Kent to Bus Station…every commuter, every single one. We could even build a western area central dump somewhere safer than what’s available. Just imagine… many many birds with one stone

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