A minimum of $30 billion is needed to develop Ghana’s entire railway network.
However, of the expected amount, the government has so far invested $2 billion into the sector accounting for almost 75 per cent of the country’s 4,000 kilometres railway network, unconstructed.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), Yaw Owusu, made this known at a stakeholder workshop to discuss Ghana’s 2020 Railway Master Plan, in Accra yesterday.
First developed in 2013 and upgraded in 2020, the Railway Master Plan is the country’s current blueprint for the development of its railway network.
According to the CEO, it wasinvestments made into the sector that had seen projects like the 97-kilometre Tema-Mpakadan railway line which was near completion, the 80-kilometre railway line from Takoradi to Huni Valley via Nsuta and Tarkwa as well as the six-kilometre double line from Kaase to Adum in Kumasi which was ongoing, come into existence.
“Discussions are also far advanced to construct Accra to Nsawam, Achimota to Tema and Eduadin to Obuasi lines. These are all standard gauge rails,” he said.
Mr Owusu said an efficient transportation system was crucial to decentralise and grow the economy, pointing out that althoughthe rail sector was capital-intensive, it had long-term benefits for the nation.
“We just need commitment in terms of our national priorities. We need to find ways to change the narrative of our transportation setup and make railway, a national top priority,” he added.
The CEO expressed the hope that by 2025 when the master plan is reviewed, Ghana would have made significant progress in its rail sector to help relocate commercial activities from already congested urban centres.
“The Chinese are building an average of 1,000 kilometres high speed tracks every year. In our own backyard, Nigeria has constructed a 500-kilometre standard gauge railway line to link Abuja and Lagos.
Kenya has also linked the capital city of Nairobi to the coastal city of Mombasa. It is our turn to link for example, Accra to Kumasi, in the shortest possible time,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Railway Development, Kwaku Asante-Boateng, said there was the urgent need to find alternative means of funding the railway sector.
“We do not have the money and the railway sector is very capital-intensive. For every one kilometre of railway, we need at least $5million to construct so we need to find ways of getting funds to develop the sector,” he said.