GHANA: ‘The railways are coming in a big way into Ghana, and we shall open up our country for the development that we all desire’, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said in his state of the nation address last month.

He was ‘glad to be able to report’ that services from the capital Accra east to nearby Tema had restarted following rehabilitation of the 1 067 mm gauge line, although reopening of the line north from Accra to Nsawam had been delayed because sand extraction had undermined the track near Pokuase. ‘If we want the railways to work, we would all have to take an interest in and stop the activities of encroachers on the railway lands’, he said. Rehabilitation of the next stage from Nsawam to Koforidua is underway, the President reported.

In January the CEO of the Ghana Railway Development Authority Richard Diedong Dombo announced that six companies from the USA, France, Germany, China and Ghana had been shortlisted out of the 45 which had expressed interest in a US$1bn project to rebuild the 330 km Eastern line connecting Accra and Kumasi from 1 067 mm to 1 435 mm gauge, including the 24 km Achimota - Tema branch. The primary aim is to support the exploitation of bauxite deposits near Kyebi.

In the west, work is underway to rehabilitate the Kojokrom to Tarkwa line, and construction of a 1 435 mm gauge line from Kojokrom to Manso is ongoing.

The government has committed US$500m for the Western line, and a similar sum for the first phase of the 595 km Kumasi – Paga central spine route. Plans for a line from Tema to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso were ‘progressing steadily’, the President said, with 12 shortlisted companies invited to proceed to the next stage of the procurement process. Land acquisition is to commence, and a strategic investor is to be selected.