Freetown has over 1.0 million residents, and has been growing at 3.01 percent per annum since 1985. Freetown has enormous potential as a city but faces severe challenges across all sectors. The importance of Freetown to Sierra Leone’s economy is clear, with the city creating 30% of the country’s GDP despite housing only 15% of its population.
In 2018 Yvonne Aki-Sawyer was elected Mayor of Freetown. In January 2019 she launched a bold initiative- Transform Freetown.
Transform Freetown (http://fcc.gov.sl/transform-freetown/) is the framework that the Freetown
City Council (“FCC”) is adopting for addressing the challenges faced by our city, while maximising the enormous potential our city holds. It charts how we are working together to Transform Freetown over the course of the next three years by establishing targets, determining how to effectively achieve those targets and assessing and reporting on our progress. At its core is the need to address Freetown’s socio- economic and environmental vulnerabilities and emerge as the dynamic city of opportunity we have the potential to become.
Launched in January 2019, the 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from skills development and job creation in the tourism sector, to improving urban planning and housing provision and tackling environmental degradation.
The Transform Freetown priorities are grouped within four clusters - Resilience, Human Development, Healthy Cities and Urban Mobility. The task of the Working Groups was to set targets in each priority sector and design the initiatives necessary to achieve them.
GEN Sierra Leone (GEN SL) has supported Transform Freetown by leading the Skills Development and Job Creation Working Group. FCC is working closely with the Global Entrepreneurship Network to meet our targets for the provision of market-driven skills training for 20,000 youth and functional literacy for 15,000 adults across the city, and facilitating the creation of at least 4,000 jobs in the tourism sector. These efforts will be supported by Transform Freetown’s integrated approach to urban development that is designed to make Freetown a more liveable and vibrant city that retains its youth and offers them hope for the future.
To further our support for the Skills Development and Job Creation, GEN SL and FCC is making an approach to the International Office for Migration (IOM) in Sierra Leone to support an entrepreneurship training. The training will focus on skills development for plastic waste recycling.
Diversified employment opportunities and an appropriately skilled population is essential to our individual and collective prosperity. In this cluster, we have four priority sectors - education, skills development, job creation and support for people with disabilities. These are intended to cultivate a diverse and dynamic economy with a skilled workforce, that attracts and retains businesses.
Specifically, the objective of GEN SL is to contribute to accomplishing one of the target under Skills Development, which is : Provide market-driven skills training to at least 20,000 people in Freetown by 2022.