Freetown-Zurich partnership to modernise Freetown’s central business district  

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 March 2022:

Last Wednesday, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, Deputy Mayor Osman T Koroma, CA Festus Kallay and the team from Freetown City Council met with a team from the city of Zurich to finalise the city-to-city cooperation project, which will focus on the regeneration of Central Business District (CBD) of Freetown.

Also present at the meeting were representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Planning and Development and SLRA.

The team from Zurich – made up of Craig Hatcher, an advisor specialising in urban development working for Helvetas, and Jonas Hunziker an urban planner working for Ernst Basler + Partner spent last week in Freetown to identify a locally-based Cooperation Partner for the city-to-city partnership.

The city-to-city cooperation between Zurich and Freetown started in 2019 when Zurich’s Mayor, Corine Mauch and Freetown’s Mayor, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr declared their mutual intention to share experiences and develop concrete solutions, whilst contributing to the achievement of SDG 11.

Over the years, Freetown’s CBD has become a less and less attractive destination for commercial and diplomatic headquarters with high levels of traffic congestion, limited walkability, and uncontrolled parking.

Consequently, the area bounded by Malama Thomas Steet,  Garison Street, Wallace Johnson Street, Siaka Stevens Street and Percival Street has been identified for regeneration.

Through the city-to-city cooperation project, FCC and other partners in the Project Implementation Unit will:

  • Improve street lighting, as well as footway widening and repairs
  • Undertake landscaping and city beautification
  • And implement a controlled parking zone

Last Wednesday’s meeting also involved discussions about the pilot phase of the project, which will commence later this year and completed by mid-2023. Once the pilot phase is completed, the rest of the project will be rolled out over a 4-year period with a budget contribution of USD2.5 million from Zurich.



  1. The ambitions which Mayor Aki-Sawyer has for Freetown are incongruous, they are an unexplainable phenomenon. The one and only drag in her quest to bring her ambitions to fruition is the Bio Government, who perpetually seize every opportunity to erect barriers in her way. They even abhor the idea that foreign dignitaries and institutions are forever lining up to deal with the Mayor directly since it means being denied the chance to steal all funds coming in.

    Freetown needs to be restructured to befit a modern city ; its current layout is not only medieval but outright dangerous and unsanitary. Emergency vehicles, for example, cannot easily reach the sick or anything that is on fire. And yet we have always had a ministry of housing and country planning. What have the ministers been doing over the years to make Freetown look like a junkyard?

    Zurich is one of the cities in Switzerland and if anyone wants to learn about managing a modern city with adequate and efficient amenities Switzerland is the place to go. It is a small country of just 15,937 sq miles and classed as a developed nation without the natural resources which we are endowed with. No wonder then that our beloved Yvonne is rubbing shoulders with visitors from Zurich; she likes associating herself with success builders, not losers.

    When Dr Yomkella is President next year I bet my life his office will be open to Mayor Aki-Sawyer all the time because they are both progressives who want to see a better Sierra Leone irrespective of party colours, tribe or region. May Allah/God grant them the necessary speed.

  2. This is what leadership is all about. The will of the people are expressed through their elected representatives. What Mayor Akin Sawyer is about is delivering for her Freetown constituents, not engaged in some political witch-hunt, that is left to Bio and his political associates steeped in the art of vendetta politics corruption, maladministration, and walking around with bags of broken manifesto promises, hoping against all hope that the same recyclable broken promises will be dressed up again and presented to a gullible Sierra Leonean public,that after all the road to Jerusalem is paved with Gold, and diamonds acting like sign posts to a population that is fedup of excuses and seek to the teeth to the depressive state Sierra Leone has been reduced to.Thanks but no thanks to Bio.Test of political leadership always happens when it is least expected.

    True political leaders should always able to rise up to the challenges facing their country and its people regardless of the challenges facing that nation.Mayot Akin Sawyer have proven her self not once many times and still counting. And it is during crisis of confidence that true leaders are able to rally their people and bring them together and fight the common enemy that threaten to undermine the welfare of such a state. In our case is corruption and assault on our young democracy, that is still smarting from the RUF wars and its effects on our country and its peoples. But with the right leadership, like Rwanda, we as people can come together and forge a future, where everyone make their own little contribution for the betterment of Sierra Leone. If Zelensky a Comedian turned president of Ukraine can rally his people and stare down Putin and his conventional war machine and six thousand nuclear war heads, at his disposal, and prove to the world that he is not all talk but can walk the walk in the defence of his people and his country’s sovereignty, we Sierra Leoneans needs a Zelensky that can rally us to use our God given human and natural resources to develop a tiny country of 8 million peoples that you can travel from Kaliahun to Falaba in a matter of few hours with out breaking sweat. Has Bio has the Zelensky sprit in him?

    That the million dollars question that the Sierra Leonean voting public will decide come 2023. Only Mayor Akin Sawyer and some opposition members seems to exhibit such political traits.

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