Infrastructure Set-up – Overview
Current State of Transportation Infrastructure: A well-developed transportation network is critical to growth and development that is why the Government of Sierra Leone is putting such a huge emphasis on developing our infrastructure. Sierra Leone has been spending about $134 million annually on infrastructure in recent years. About $66 million is lost each year to inefficiencies. Comparing spending needs against existing spending and potential efficiency gains leaves an annual funding gap of $59 to $278 million per year.
Currently, the transport system includes the following:
- 11,300 km of classified roads of which approximately 895km are paved
- One primary port, several smaller ports
- Serving private sector
- One international airport at Lungi
- Smaller airports (rated as fair/poor) for smaller airports (rated as fair/poor) for inland transportation
- Several inland river waterways
Current Landscape in Road Infrastructure: The Ministry of Works, Housing & Infrastructure is the primary party responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads on behalf of GoSL and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority, the implementing Agency. The Mechanical Services Unit, within the SLRA, works with local businesses and contractors to perform select construction and rehabilitation work. Substantial donor contributions continue to be made to the sector.
Electricity: Lots of indecision on issue- NCP have created a business plan and regulatory framework that has finally been submitted to cabinet and passed through parliament but is not likely to be auctioned until after the elections. View to unbundle distribution and generation and potentially just have existing NPA capacity for emergency generation. Bumbuna Hydro Electric Project now generates substantial megawatts of power to service donor investment projects.
Current Port Infrastructure Landscape: Sierra Leone currently has three key ports:
Queen Elizabeth II Quay: Sierra Leone’s primary port, located in eastern Freetown, the QEII Quay is the country’s most important gateway for regional and global trade and commerce. It contains one of West Africa’s finest natural harbor. The port’s physical infrastructure was badly damaged during the civil conflict and as part of the World Bank’s grant for infrastructure development in Sierra Leone, 24% ($11 million) was allocated to the development of port infrastructure and management capacity.
The QEII Quay maintains a high-tide depth of ten meters and a low-tide depth of seven meters. It is more than one-kilometer-long consisting of 6 berths, a newly resurfaced stacking area of more than 31,000 square meters, and four large warehouses. More than 257,000 megatons of general cargo pass through the port annually. The Dredging of Queen Elizabeth II Quay has been completed.
Niti Port is currently being used exclusively for the transportation of rutile. It is located in the Bonthe district, in an area that was once a critical hub for regional trade. The port of Sherbro is designed to handle bauxite and rutile exports.
Pepel Port was built to facilitate the export of iron ore and it is currently being used for iron ore transportation by African Minerals and London Mining, private sector firms with huge mining interests.
Sierra Leone is rebuilding and modernizing its port system by developing plans to upgrade operational efficiency at the port of Freetown and granting African Minerals the exclusive right to rehabilitate and increase the throughput capacity of the port of Pepel. Sierra Leone is moving to the landlord port model from a tool port model and increasing private participation. The Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) is in the process of major reform to place it on a footing where it operates in accordance with the landlord port model. This will facilitate a much greater involvement of the private sector in front-line and back-up cargo handling and storage functions, with the first major step being the concessioning of container/multipurpose cargo-handling facilities at the port of Freetown.
Government of Sierra Leone has contracted two companies to renovate the airport and bring it up to standards. There is currently a company by the name of Lagan Construction which is a Northern Ireland company who has been awarded an £8m contract to redevelop Lungi International Airport. Lagan Construction will carry out a complete refurbishment of the airside infrastructure of Lungi International Airport, which was previously a UK Royal Air Force station.
The second company working to refurbish Lungi Airport is called Sky Handling Services, they will be monitoring the Ground Handling and Cargo Warehouse activities at FNA. This investment is geared towards upgrading service to aircraft and passengers to international standards.
The completion of the rehabilitation and strengthening of the Lungi Airport runway on April 14, 2011;
The remaining main activities which are under implementation are:
- The installation and commissioning of the Navigational Aids and Communications Equipment for the Airport (US$3.4 million equivalent).
- The Ministry of Transport and Aviation has set up a planning committee for a new Airport that is set to be constructed at Mamama. Government welcomes interested investors to submit their business proposals, this type of partnership could be under a “Build, Own and Transfer” agreement.