Sierra Leone launches $50 million World Bank funded urban transport improvement project

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 November 2019:

The government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the World Bank, today launched the Integrated and Resilient Urban Mobility Project, supported by a US$50 million grant to improve access and quality of public transport, address climate resilience and road safety in selected areas in the Western Area, as well as enhancing institutional capacity across the transport sector.

The project offers an integrated approach in responding to the challenges faced by the urban transport sector, as Greater Freetown is now at a turning point to become an engine for transformation of the country.

According to a statement published by the World Bank today, the project aims to foster changes in the way the city is growing: from a congested, vehicle-oriented city to a resilient, people-oriented city, where walking and public transport are at the core of the metropolitan vision, and with a focus on vulnerable groups – such as low-income residents, women and people with disabilities.

“This project will help reduce barriers, particularly for the poor and most vulnerable who depend on transport and walking, to accessing jobs and services in a safe and clean environment,” said Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone (Photo).

“It also presents an opportunity to support the government’s vision in terms of economic diversification and competitiveness, resilience, and human capital acceleration, which are aligned with the country’s National Development Plan,” Gayle Martin said.

The project will benefit Western Area residents, businesses, government and academic institutions, including the Fourah Bay College – University of Sierra Leone, through the integration of its civil engineering school with the Africa Center for Excellence program, and partnership with the Centre of Excellence in Transport in Kumasi, Ghana.

It also supports the government’s ‘Access to Schools’ program to provide transport access to educational centers.

The direct beneficiaries are estimated at over 75,000 daily users of public transport (nearly 40 percent of whom are women), over 100,000 pedestrians with safer pedestrian facilities, and over 50,000 daily beneficiaries of improved resilient roads.

The financing will support the establishment of a bus renewal scheme to encourage private-sector operators; technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) to regulate public transport and to support the private sector in the provision of formal, regulated transport service along selected corridors.

It will aid capacity building and training for transport operators and drivers on safe driving; civil works, goods and services for ancillary facilities to promote the efficient use of the bus fleet, particularly focused on an integrated ticketing system, a bus management system, a control center, a bus information system, the construction of bus stops, bus priority measures, terminal and depot facilities.

Sierra Leone has a tropical climate with a rainy season from May to October and a dry season from November to April. Mean annual rainfall for the entire country is around 2,500 mm, the eleventh highest in the world and the second highest in Africa.

Coastal and southern areas, including the Western Area, experience severe rainfall patterns with annual precipitation between 3,000 and 5,000 mm per year, peaking to more than 800 mm of rainfall monthly in July and August.

These torrential storms often disrupt communications and transportation nationwide, damage homes and agricultural production, and cause erosion. (Photo above: Destruction caused by heavy rains in Freetown).

“The project will contribute towards building resilience to climate change. Communities’ resilience will be enhanced by providing a more robust mobility system during rain and flood events. Based on the risk assessment, the project designs also incorporate climate adaptation considerations to enhance the project’s resilience,” said Fatima Arroyo Arroyo, World Bank Urban Transport Specialist and Task Team Leader.

The project is aligned with the World Bank Africa Strategy, and integrates four innovative areas of focus that are aligned with the recently approved Africa Strategy: (i) strengthening human capital in government, academia and by empowering women; (ii) digital moonshot transformation –leapfrogging by using innovative technologies for mobility and logistics; (iii) creating sustainable and inclusive growth by maximizing private-sector transformation; and (iv) building resilience to climate change by mainstreaming climate resilience throughout the project life cycle.

9 Comments

  1. I want to suggest that we have flyovers around eastern police. Also to complete the road from model junction to Black hall road.

    • RIGHTEOUS and FAIR question Abu. The said Grant would be distributed evenly across the entire country. Don’t worry, we are watching. All the MPs are also watching. Thanks Abu for your contribution and may GOD BLESS YOU.

  2. Back to the drawing board. With all the projects mention in this article, not s single one will be completed and last for more than 5yrs. Although the Money is a loan but its not even enough to build a standard transport hub and buses to run let alone talking about modification of the roads to suit the traffic management. The one project I could recommend is just one bridge back of Eastern police; move the market somewhere, that will eventually ease the traffic.

    $50 Million roughly £35 million pound. Thats small money for all what need to be done, talking from experience as a Senior Civil Engineer presently undertaking 5 story student accomodation worth £20 Million.

  3. There is a lot of goodies proposed in this project. We are looking forward to a successful implementation. Our capital city is among the most deplorable in the subregion in terms of proper planning and infrastructure. Over 60% of the streets are either unpaved or filled with pot holes. It will be great if this project is implemented to the letter.

  4. As long as it’s a GRANT, the IMF/WORLD BANK is welcome. Why did they not consider RIVER TRANSPORTATION? They should have placed more emphasis on RIVER TRANSPORTATION to help with traffic CONGESTION especially in FREETOWN and it’s environs. The IMF has done the right thing this time around by helping us with a GRANT and not a DEBT PACKAGE that will add to the DEBT we already have and will never pay. By the way, we will renegotiate every debt we have with the IMF in the future. GOD BLESS the IMF for the GRANT.

    • I don’t always agree with Sahr Matturi. But I think his suggestion here is spot on. Water transportation would be ideal for reducing vehicular congestion in our city and providing jobs for the unemployed.

      Luxury ferries and boats transporting people from Aberdeen to Waterloo would not only reduce vehicular congestion but would also stimulate economic growth while enhancing the beauty of Freetown. Viva Maada Bio, viva Freetown and viva Sierra Leone. The transformation of Sierra Leone is in progress.

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