The Minister for Railway Development, Mr. John-Peter Amewu says plans are on course for Government to secure private sector partnership in the construction of the Ghana–Burkina railway interconnectivity project.
The final stage of the procurement process for the engagement of the private sector partner for the project is expected to be initiated by mid-April and expected to reach financial closure by the end of November 2021 after successful negotiations and signing of the necessary agreements with the preferred private sector concessionaire, to pave way for the commencement of the physical construction works.
Mr. Amewu together with his counterpart, Mr. Vincent Dabilgou, announced this at a media briefing in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso when he visited the country with a delegation from Ghana’s Railway Development Ministry and Ghana Railway Development Authority. Also with the delegation were some officials from the Transaction Advisory Consortium, Messrs. TEAM Engineering and Vision Consult Ltd.
The two countries agreed in 2018 to breakdown the development of the railway interconnectivity project into four distinct phases with the Feasibility Studies and Competitive Procurement Process for Private Partnership forming the first two phases. The third phase will involve the Analysis of Technical Studies and Detailed Engineering Designs to be undertaken by the private sector Party. Commencement of Physical Construction will be the final phase of the project development.
The Minister reiterated that the proposed railway corridor between the Tema Port and Ouagadougou will contribute significantly to enable both countries benefit from the huge economic potential given the enormous mineral deposits such as bauxite, manganese and iron orealong the corridor.
The Sector Minister assured the Government and people of Burkina Faso that the Government ofGhana is prepared to see to the realization of an efficient and effective railway network that would facilitate the socio-economic growth of the two neigbouring countries.
Touching on the advantages of the project, the Minister for Transport, Urban Mobility and Road Safety, Mr. Vincent Dabilgou mentioned that railroad is more competitive as compared to road for the carriage of heavy products over long distances due to the cost damage to roads and issues relating to road safety.
He noted that the project, which started as a concept, has progressed significantly with both countries finalizing and adopting Terms of Reference for the implementation of the railway interconnectivity project. The two countries have agreed on the proposed route for the rail link which starts from Ouagadougou through Kombissiri, Manga, Béguédo, Garango, Tenkodog, Bagré-Pole, Zabré, Pô and ends at Dakola-Paga border link, a total distance of approximately320 km.
The Ghana section of the project, which forms part of the Eastern railway expansion along the Eastern corridor, is from Tema through Mpakadan, where a 97.9 km single standard gauge railway line is currently under construction with funding by an India Exim Bank loan facility of US$447.17. The project is expected to completed by November 2021.
The line will continue from Mpakadan and will go through Kpeve, Hohoe, Jasikan, Nkwanta, Bimbila, Yendi, Tamale, Walewale, Bolgatanga, Navrongo and Paga. The approved alignmentalso includes four branch lines from Asikuma to Ho, Nkwanta to Dambai, Bimbila to Sheini andWalewale to Nalerigu forming a total route length of approximately 782 km.
Mr. Dabilgou was of the view that the construction of the railway between Burkina Faso and Ghana will lead to the improvement in the trade balance for both countries, through the facilitation of transport and optimization of the operating cost of motor vehicles by shifting the overloads of the railway. It will also stabilize cost of transportation leading to the reduction in the price of goods, the creation of 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, while improving the flow of agricultural products from Bagré-Pole to the market and also improve mineral exports to the ports.
The two Ministers later signed a Communique’ after which they paid a courtesy call on H. E. the Prime Minister, Christophe Joseph Marie Dabre. The delegation took the opportunity to report to the Prime Minister the progress made with regards to the implementation of the project and the agreements reached during the working visit.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far and urged the two countries to remain focused and continue working together to ensure timely execution of the railway project to facilitate trade, reduce transportation cost, create jobs, reduce poverty levels and enhance safety of road users.
The Government of the Republic of Ghana and Burkina Faso, led by their respective Heads of States, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and H.E. Roch Marc Christian Kabore, during a State Visit to Burkina Faso in May, 2017 agreed that rail interconnectivity between the two WestAfrican neighbours was an important project to accelerate development and economic growth for the mutual benefit of the two countries.