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In transit

Article - March 28, 2012
Making Ghana the transport hub of West Africa will need private sector involvement

A thriving domestic economy with an increasingly prosperous outlook and rising volumes of trade year on year have intensified demand for transportation services and the need for ongoing investments in infrastructure and services. Furthermore, the Ministry of Transport aims to establish Ghana as a future regional transit centre and the gateway of choice to business in the West African sub-region.

The road network represents Ghana’s main transportation arteries, accounting for 98 per cent of freight and 95 per cent of passenger traffic. The Ghana Highway Authority completed eight major road projects in 2011, and many more are in the planning stage or under way. Also, the National Road Safety Strategy III (NRSS III) has been developed and launched last year to serve as a national blueprint for road safety management.

Ghana has a small but economically vital rail network, which is currently confined to the more populous and economically advanced southern half of the country. The Ghana Railway Company operates the nation’s 1300km of rail track, and the government has laid out plans for the modernisation and expansion of its railway network and rolling stock. The Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) predicts that annual freight traffic will increase from 3.5m tonnes in 2007 to nearly 5.5m tonnes in 2022, as well as1.3m tonnes of import containers. The GRDA also proposes to upgrade all track to standard gauge track, which would more than triple maximum operating speed to 160km/h and raise axle load to 25 tonnes.

In the aviation sector, expansion and increasing connections at regional airports is also a priority, to reduce internal travel times and support regional economic development – especially in the north. Last year, four new Ghanaian airlines – namely Africa World Airline, Eagle Atlantic Airline, Starboo and Pioson Airline – were licensed to commence operations on both domestic and regional routes.

The government is also planning overhauls and expansion at the country’s two ports – Tema, 30km east of Accra, and Takoradi, 220km west of the capital – as it raises the country’s competitive advantages.