President Julius Maada Bio has applauded the European Union (EU), the National Authorizing Officer (NAO) and the National Youth Commission (NYC) for their respective roles in the implementation of a major road project linking Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The president was speaking during his visit over the weekend to a youth skills training programme targeting about 1,540 young people who are learning road construction as part of the Bandajuma-Liberia border road project. The European Union Development Fund (EDF) funds the project, which is in the Pujehun District in the Southern Region of the country.
President Bio singled out the EU Ambassador, Tom Vens, the head of the National Authorizing Office, Ambrose James, and the National Youth Commissioner, Ngolo Katta for praises. He also thanked the construction company, CSE, for accommodating the youths in their project.
President Bio, while addressing the youths directly, challenged them to form a ready workforce to work on future road construction projects in the country.
Ambassador Ben’s, the EU Head of Delegation to Sierra Leone, expressed excitement at the progress on the Bandajuma-Liberia border road project, noting that about 80% of the 100-kilometre highway was already completed.
He said this is a huge development for Sierra Leone and the people along the 4,500-kilometre Trans-West African Coastal Highway from Nouakchott to Lagos.
The transnational highway project was designed to link 12 West African coastal nations, from Mauritania in the north-west of the region to Nigeria in the east, with feeder roads already existing to two landlocked countries, Mali and Burkina Faso.
The National Youth Commissioner, Ngolo Katta, said the project would continue to help young people with various skills in road construction, including welding, masonry, carpentry, steel bending and heavy-duty machine operations. He emphasised that the youth skills training programme separately targeted those community youths with no qualification and graduate youths who required hands-on training as engineers.