Sierra Leone Secures $74 Million World Bank Grant

World Bank Board.jpg

By Amin Kef Sesay

The World Bank Board has on Wednesday May 29, 2024 approved a $74 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to enhance climate-resilient transport connectivity and agricultural market access in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Connectivity and Agricultural Market Infrastructure Project (CAMIP) aims to provide all-season connectivity and access to jobs, markets, and services, particularly in rural areas where inadequate infrastructure has hindered economic development.

“The construction of climate-resilient transport and agricultural market infrastructure is a critical step towards ensuring food security and increasing local incomes, aligning with our government’s ‘Big 5 Game Changers’, especially the ‘FEED SALONE’ Agenda,” stated Alhaji Fanday Turay, Minister of Transport and Aviation for Sierra Leone. “Our collaboration with the World Bank on this project demonstrates our commitment to protecting our economy and people from climate risks. By enhancing our transport network and market infrastructure, we are laying the foundation for sustainable economic growth and social development.”

Sierra Leone’s transport sector remains significantly underdeveloped, with only about 40% of primary roads paved, while most secondary and feeder roads are unpaved. Urban areas, particularly Freetown, face severe congestion and demand for an efficient public transport system. In rural areas, isolated by rivers and reliant on manual cable ferries and canoes, only one-third of the population has access to an all-season road network, further compounded during the rainy season.

“Sierra Leone’s transport and agricultural sectors are vital to the country’s economic and social development. This project will address the urgent need for resilient infrastructure that can withstand the challenges of climate change, enhancing connectivity and accessibility, and unlocking the country’s agricultural potential,” remarked Abdu Muwonge, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone. “The partnership between ministries in this project highlights the benefits of integrated multi-sectoral approaches. The World Bank is dedicated to supporting the Government in transforming these sectors to meet Sierra Leoneans’ needs and promote economic growth.”

Agriculture, contributing 59% of GDP and 43% of employment, is essential for Sierra Leone’s inclusive economic growth. However, productivity is severely impacted by poor connectivity and infrastructure challenges, exacerbated by climate change. The project’s agricultural market infrastructure interventions are expected to stimulate the local economy, reduce post-harvest losses and create more jobs.

“Investing in climate-resilient transport and agricultural infrastructure is crucial for stimulating the local economy and improving food security,” said Hongye Fan, World Bank Transport Specialist and Task Team Leader. “By expanding high-capacity public transport services, we are addressing traffic congestion and paving the way for a greener and safer transport system. Our collaboration with the agricultural sector ensures that investments in market facilities, rural bridges and roads will empower farmers, particularly women, by providing necessary infrastructure to thrive.”

The project is set to benefit over 3 million people in both urban and rural areas. In Freetown, over one million urban residents will benefit from improved transport infrastructure and services, while approximately two million rural residents will gain from new bridges, link roads and market infrastructure in Bo, Moyamba, Tonkolili and Karene districts.

The Sierra Leone Connectivity and Agricultural Market Infrastructure Project aligns with the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF, 2021-2026) for Sierra Leone and the Global Crisis Response Framework (GCRF), contributing to economic diversification and resilience. It complements Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP, 2024-2030), which prioritizes Food Security as a major flagship.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here