S Africa commits to developing Ghana's rail sector

The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Madam Lulu Xingwana, has expressed her country’s full commitment to partnering and working with Ghana to ensure that the country’s rail infrastructure network is alive and economically viable. She is confident that when Ghana’s rail sector is revived and its full potentials harnessed, it will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth. “This will be an important partnership especially looking at two African countries that can support each other. This has been strengthened by the agreement signed by our Heads of State to set up the African Continental Free Trade Area where Ghana has been appointed as the seat of the Secretariat. The South African President as the Chair of the AU said he will prioritize infrastructure development of the continent. And this will be one of the key projects that will begin that process of ensuring infrastructure development on our continent.” The Ministry of Railways Development, the Ghana Railways Development Authority and the Ghana Railways Company Limited have since 2017 been in discussion with South African Railways Company Transnet and its local partners Adasa Keteke Company Limited to help with the revitalization efforts of the country’s rail infrastructure network. Already, a team from Ghana’s railway sector has been in South Africa to assess the capabilities of Transnet to take on the role. In December 2019, President Akufo-Addo and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, signed an agreement in Accra, Ghana for the revitalization of the Western Corridor rail line specifically the Takoradi to Tarkwa lines. At a meeting to brief members of the Western Region Press Corps on the progress of work so far at the rehabilitated Railways Training School at Essikadu in Sekondi-Takoradi, Her Excellency Madam Lulu Xingwana said her country will continue to work together with all the various stakeholders in ensuring that the revitalization programme becomes successful. “This is an important country in Africa. You have a lot of resources that need to be transported. We are committed to partnering with Ghana to ensure that the railway is alive and viable for the development of this country and growing the economy. And we hope that this will be a good pilot that will also demonstrate what can be done not only in Ghana but in the Ecowas region and the continent as a whole.” Commercial due diligence on the Takoradi to Tarkwa lines which commenced in January this year has been completed. Programme Director of Transnet Wilson Mogoba revealed that a team of engineers from Transnet are currently in Ghana to commence the technical due diligence. “Specifically, they are looking at the railway line. They are looking at what needs to be fixed on the railway lines. So, they are inspecting the line between Takoradi all the way to Kumasi and perhaps further on to Awaso to also look at what needs to be done to fix that line. The rolling stock team will be looking at the wagons, coaches, locomotives as well as the workshops.” He said ultimately the intention is that Transnet will work with Ghanaian entities to revive the rail network infrastructure and return it to what is needed to help the country’s economy. Acting Managing Director of Ghana Railways Company Limited John Essel said his outfit is extremely delighted that they have partnered with an African company to revamp the lines. “The level of deterioration in the rail sector was very bad and so we needed an external support to help us to revamp and put it on the road to profitability.” He narrated the various works that have been done between Transnet and its local partners Adasa Keteke Company Limited, the Ministry of Railways Development, the Ghana Railways Development Authority and the Ghana Railways Company Limited and described them as fruitful. “We have already committed to put our engineers at the disposal of the technical team so that at the end of the day the due diligence will be done to the benefit of all parties.” Chief Executive Officer of Adasa Keteke Company Limited Kojo Quainoo said they will ensure that there exists a robust local content and participation in the execution of the revitalization programme. “The euphoria that greeted the President’s decision to create a Ministry of Railways Development means that avenues are created for Ghanaians to participate in the sector. So, we as local partners are going to ensure that there is a robust local content and local participation through a well-designed ecosystem that will engage artisans and people from all walks of life.” He assured that “everybody” is going to participate. “It is not a work that is going to be done by a small group of people. The asset is for Ghanaians and Ghanaians must benefit. So, Ghanaians should be excited about the rehabilitation process and give all the contributions or supports for this revitalization work to succeed.”

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By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana]]>