Freetown City Council commissioned the commencement of the beautification of the Aberdeen Roundabout on Saturday 17th August 2019, during a short symbolic tree planting ceremony at the Roundabout. Present at the ceremony were Her Worship the Mayor of Freetown, the acting Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank (Sierra Leone), the Member of Parliament and the Councillor of the Aberdeen Community. They were joined by staff of Standard Chartered Bank and members of the Aberdeen Community.
The beautification of the roundabout is part of Freetown City Council’s Environmental Management priority sector of the Transform Freetown Agenda. It would see the rehabilitation of the roundabout into a mini-park by planting of trees, grasses and hedges in the roundabout, and the installation of solar lights and benches.
Speaking during the ceremony, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr pointed that like everything else that she and the Council are undertaking in the Transform Freetown Agenda, collaboration has been pivotal in the realization of the project. She explained, “We all have a role to play to make the environment better. We are happy to support the people of Aberdeen who had started making efforts to beautify this roundabout. Today we are here under a wider umbrella, the Transform Freetown Agenda, which emphasizes partnership. With support from the city, Sierra Leone Roads Authority, Standard Chartered Bank (Sierra Leone), and the Aberdeen community, we are going to transform the Aberdeen Roundabout beyond what any one stakeholder could have done on its own. We say thank you to everyone that has chosen to collaborate with us to beautify the Aberdeen Roundabout.”
The beautification of the Aberdeen Roundabout was facilitated by the Sierra Leone Roads Authority and technical support and implementation will be provided by Tekk Landscapes, a horticulture company in Freetown. Financial support is being provided by Standard Chartered Bank (Sierra Leone), whose commitment to improving the environment was key to their sponsorship of the project.
During the commissioning ceremony, the Acting Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank (Sierra Leone), Mr Ibrahim Bah, explained the alignment of the project with the Bank’s activities. He said, “We are passionate about tackling climate change which is the single greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. Environmental issues such as air pollution, water quantity and quality etc continue to have a very big impact in many of our bank’s footprint markets. We take our responsibility towards protecting the environment very seriously and we are very enthusiastic about that. We have supported numerous projects in fulfilment of our Global Environment Pledge and we are happy to add the beautification of Aberdeen Roundabout to our portfolio of projects. We thank the Mayor and other stakeholders for giving us the opportunity to exclusively sponsor the Aberdeen Beautification Project.”
Beautifying the Aberdeen Roundabout is one of many initiatives that Freetown City Council is undertaking to improve environmental management in Freetown. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr revealed that Freetown City Council intends to scale up the beautification of` Freetown. “We have a target to increase vegetation cover in Freetown by 50%. This started with the beautification of the Taylor-Cummings Garden and we are working to get other partners on board to plant flowers, shrubs and trees along medians and roundabouts in the east of Freetown. We believe that transformation should be right across the city – east, central and west. We will make it happen and I am not going to stop,” the Mayor explained.
For Freetown City Council, the beautification of the roundabout is more than just an environmental management project. It strongly supports the work the Council is doing to boost job creation through tourism in Freetown. Aberdeen is at the heart of Freetown’s tourism scene, the home to several hotels and restaurants that cater to Freetown’s visitors. The beautification of the Aberdeen Roundabout provides a green space where tourists can spend leisure time, interact with locals, particularly local artisans. The Aberdeen Community was elated that development was coming to their community.
A representative of the Aberdeen community noted with pride that the Mayor of the city was present in their community, even though it was raining heavily that morning. His message to other stakeholders was that the people of Aberdeen will fully support the project. He explained, “The Aberdeen Roundabout has for long been neglected and so our role in this project is simple – to reciprocate the support that the Mayor has decided to give to us. We will come here and help with the planting and supervision of the work. We are committed to seeing this project all the way to completion. Thank you for choosing to beautify Aberdeen roundabout, which is a significant touristic roundabout.”