Infrastructure and road construction are two of the centrepieces of the socio-economic and political development programs of President Ernest Bai Koroma. When the government was voted into power in 2007, President Koroma immediately launched the Agenda For Change program which had the blessings of the United Nations, and other stakeholders, the UK, and our multilateral and bilateral development partners. According to President Koroma, the program was launched to “chart a bold new path for accelerating the advancement of our country on all fronts.” President Koroma has grown up to see a nation where backwardness was the order of the day and he decided that enough was enough. Sierra Leone must stand head and shoulders over other African nations. The Agenda For Change was therefore built around the strategic pillars of Energy, Transportation, Agriculture and Human Development, each capable of accelerating the wheels of progress in the country. (Photo: Makeni-Freetown Road – credit Sama Forma)
The government’s achievements in all all four areas are fully documented and have been propagated by the pro-government media and praised by international stakeholders and development partners.
The whole nation is undergoing a remarkable transformation under President Koroma. Some of the most physical signs of the socio-economic and political progress in Sierra Leone today under President Ernest Koroma are the extensive infrastructural and road development projects going on through the length and breadth of the country. Sierra Leone, once the backyard of infrastructural backwardness that made citizens ashamed of their country, is now a magnificent works yard where the most profound and impressive infrastructural and road development projects are taking place . Suddenly, Sierra Leone has become the beneficiary of some of the best road network systems in West Africa , under the progressive and productive leadership of President Ernest Koroma.
There is not a single visitor or delegation that has left the diaspora to visit Sierra Leone that has not returned with high-sounding praise for President Koroma for the immaculate manner he is transforming a once-backward and stone age country. Even Sierra Leone’s stakeholders including delegations from the UN, Peacebuilding Commission, European Union , DFID and AU have visited Sierra Leone and returned with profound admiration for President Koroma and the APC Government. The very impressive perception that every stakeholder has for Sierra Leone is that donor money and the nation’s resources are being invested in the right direction by President Koroma . This explains why even on the eve of elections, Sierra Leone’s development partners have continued to fund projects, unlike what happened to the profligate and corrupt Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) Government of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
Freetown-Bo road, President Koroma is opening Sierra Leone up to increased agricultural productivity and enhanced investment climate, photo credit Sama Forma
Some misguided , unfruitful and unprogressive Sierra Leoneans who do not understand national development strategies and who think they can score political points against the government have tried to ridiculously downplay the achievements of the President in his road development projects. Their posture about the President’s infrastructural and road construction developments is SO wrong that one wonders if these people really understand how civilization started . Ignorance and the basic lack of understanding of how modern and greater nations emerged are behind the idiotic statements SLPP supporters make about President Koroma’s commitment to build modern highways throughout the country. Do they know that the Great United States’ socio-economic and political renaissance that has taken her to the apogee of world dominance and development kicked off with massive infrastructural and road development projects ?
Taiama Junction – photo credit Abdul Iscandari
AMERICA ON THE MOVE, a website that highlights the stages of American advancement in the world writes : ” It’s hard to imagine America in 1800. The young country consisted of 16 states and just over 5 million citizens. The vast and impenetrable landscape made travel difficult and as a result people tended to live very local lives. But over the next hundred years, roads were built, canals dug, rivers improved, and rails laid, which allowed Americans to spread out and conquer the continent. Road construction was one of the first improvements in American infrastructure.” Yes, this was the foundation of American civilization. Without good infrastructure and state-of-the-art- transportation facilities, there is no way that the U.S. could have been the greatest nation on the face of the earth today.
President Ernest Koroma, a paragon of visionary leadership and endeavours is cleverly emulating the strides great nations like the U.S. took to propel themselves to the dizzying heights of socio-economic and political developments they find themselves today. Infrastructural and road development projects were the precursor of other development achievements. According to AMERICA ON THE MOVE, “ By the turn of the century, the nation’s growing network of canals, roads, waterways, and railroads had forged new links between people and places, and helped create the spectacular growth of 19th century America.” The same will be said of Sierra Leone one day.
Masiaka the gateway to the hinterland is now a modern settlement – photo credit Abdul Iscandari
Sierra Leone cannot sustain the marvelous investment climate that DFID has just highly commended nor become an industrial nation without good roads and infrastructure. Investors have to be sure that imported materials and goods for their companies and industries reach their plants safely and speedily and that their finished products would be transported to the appropriate markets with dispatch . A very clever developer, President Koroma knows that once Sierra Leone constructs good roads and infrastructure, the economy would be developed by leaps and bounds through increased investments and the development of industries.
SLPP supporters, who bemoan President Koroma’s emphasis on road and infrastructural developments have jaundiced conceptions even about agricultural productivity. They cry that the price of foodstuff is high, but do they know that President Koroma’s road development projects will be one of the solutions to the exorbitant prices of food? Don’t they know that there is a telling correlation between good roads and agricultural productivity, availability of food and the reduction of prices ? An excellent road network system is a huge boost to Sierra Leone ‘s agricultural and food security enterprise because farmers and retailers will be able to move perishable foodstuffs speedily to markets and consumers, thereby forestalling scarcity. The upsurge in farming activities in the country was stimulated by President Koroma’s road construction and infrastructural development projects and this will soon bring immense benefits through food security. Even the huge rise in mining activities was stirred by the excellent road network in the country today. Today, mining companies are operating smoothly in Sierra Leone because the roads and infrastructure are good.
Therefore, every true patriot should hail President Koroma for his brilliant vision in crafting the Agenda For Change which has put Sierra Leone at par with other African nations and made us one of the most promising countries in socio-economic and political advancement. We are on the way to becoming one of the economically viable nations in Africa because of our new roads and infrastructure.
By Kabs Kanu, USA