Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio visited a youth skills training programme targeting about 1,540 young people learning road construction at the Bandajuma-Liberia border road project funded by the European Union, EU.
He thanked partners for this possible, among them, the EU Ambassador, Tom Vens, the head of National Authorising Office, Ambrose James, the National Youth Commissioner, Ngolo Katta and the construction company, CSE, for engaging able-bodied young men and women in the Pujehun District, southern Sierra Leone.
At Malema 2, en route to Jendema, President Bio addressed the youth and challenged them to form a ready workforce to work on future road construction projects in the country, adding: “Ours is a human capital development government. Therefore, people should be at the center of everything that we do”.
Commissioner Katta said the project would continue to help the young people with various skills in road construction, including welding, masonry, carpentry, steel bending, heavy-duty machine operators. He emphasised that the project separately targeted those community youths with no qualification and graduate youths who required hands-on training as engineers.
He added that most importantly, the project also provides stipends to keep them right through the training period and thanked all partners, including the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education, Sierra Leone Roads Authority, Sierra Leone Institute of Engineers, Sierra Leone Local Content Agency and the National Council for Technical Vocational and other Academic Awards.
The EU Ambassador expressed excitement at progress on the Bandajuma to Liberia road project, adding that about 80% of the 100-kilometer highway was already completed.
He remarked: “What a difference for Sierra Leone and the people along the 4,500-kilometre Trans-West African Coastal Highway from Nouakchott to Lagos”, a transnational highway project 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.