Introduction by Dr John Tambi, Chair of OPII

Maximising our socio-economic potential

Sierra Leone is a country of vast resources. Our ocean, soil, rivers and above all our people have tremendous promise. Unfortunately, our dysfunctional and dilapidated infrastructure cannot support our present well-being and safety, or maximise our future socio-economic potential.

We are responsible for delivering a portfolio of major projects which is worth over several billions of US dollars, all of which will transform our country.

Dr John Tambi

The consequences of this infrastructure deficit have been nothing short of catastrophic – a combination of unfulfilled economic potential and tragic human consequences. Our economy loses untold millions of dollars in productive time due to delays and the inefficient use of time. Our people are constrained from accessing health, education and employment; our businesses kept from accessing local, not to mention regional and international, markets. The terrible human cost of our infrastructure gap has been revealed time and time again, during the floods, mudslides and other disasters to which our country has been exposed.

Effective and efficient infrastructure facilities, services and systems are the backbone of national development and connectivity, as well as international competitiveness. Sierra Leone and its people cannot afford to continue to trail behind the rest of the world, relying on infrastructure that does not meet our present needs or our future aspirations. To catch up – economically and socially – we must bridge our infrastructure gap.

At OPII, our responsibility now is to identify, develop and deliver the infrastructural projects which will transform our country. Our role further includes the coordination of infrastructure development across silos (across all sectors), enabling cost-effective, functional and efficiently maintained infrastructure, as weII as making our infrastructure facilities, systems and services, including our streets and highways, safe and accessible to aIl.

Extensive and efficient infrastructure is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of the economy, as it is an important factor in determining the location of economic activity and the kinds of activities or sectors that can develop within a country.

World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015