Sierra Leone’s development is handicapped by the poor state of infrastructure which was damaged during the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991-2002. On assuming office in 2018, the administration of President Julius Maada Bio established the Presidential Infrastructure Initiatives (PII), supervised by the Office of the President, to provide leadership and prioritize vital infrastructure that can enhance the socio-economic development of the country, creating jobs through public-private partnerships. PII will work towards attaining the infrastructure required to transform the economy into middle-income status and self-sufficiency by 2035.
The 2019 Medium-Term National-Development Plan identified major projects to be undertaken under the direction of the PII. The Lungi Bridge Project meant to connect the capital, Freetown to the international airport at Lungi, about 8 km, is a major government priority. The bridge would enhance the economic and tourism potentials of the country, and end the logistical challenges facing travelers arriving and departing Lungi. The project, now estimated at $1.1 billion and expected to be completed in five years, anchors other major infrastructure projects including:
- construction of a new city and tourist hub at Lungi;
- the establishment of a free trade zone and industrial park for light manufacturing and transshipment at Lungi;
- construction of a new
- construction of a new state house and a new conference center in Freetown;
- construction of new government office towers in Freetown;
- construction of a new Freetown shopping mall;
- construction of a Freetown coastal road to relieve traffic congestion in and out of Freetown;
- construction of a new international seaport and the development of an industrial free trade zone at Nitti to serve the south and east of the country;
- construction of a hydropower dam at Bikongor hydro site to supply 85 MW and a transmission line to hook up with the West African Power Pool transmission line;
- construction of low- and middle-income houses;
- construction of additional classrooms and schools;
- construction of interconnecting roads for each district and township roads; and
- Commencement of major energy and water supply projects;
The government has already earmarked $19.8 million for the construction of an ultra-modern national diagnostic and radiotherapy cancer treatment center with modern facilities and has provided funding for the reconstruction of water supply systems in seven district headquarters. Funds have been secured for the repair of the damage caused by the mudslide in 2017, the construction of six technical/vocational institutes, and for the improvement of water supply infrastructure in Freetown. A state-of-the-art 104-bedroom Myohaung Officers’ Mess is under reconstruction with plans underway to construct appropriate housing and billets for young soldiers. A modern entertainment complex will soon be constructed to showcase the talent of local artists. The European Union recently approved grants for priority investments in four districts which are being directed to the construction of major facilities including markets, student hotels, water facilities, bridges, and guest houses.
The government is pursuing establishing the requisite infrastructure to successfully transform the country into a middle-income economy by 2035. Major infrastructure projects funded by development partners are among the best opportunities for U.S. companies. As more mining companies are expected, construction services and materials will be in high demand for companies to access their concessions. The quality and superiority of U.S. goods command a competitive advantage over many other goods in the market and are the priority of most mining companies.
As the government pursues its development proposals and other infrastructure projects, there will be high demand for construction services and materials over the near term. Providing the required services and supplying the materials creates opportunities for U.S. companies, particularly those in the areas of infrastructure consultancy, construction of roads, bridges, energy generation, as well as the supply of electrical material, drainage systems, and water services.