Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Accra’s transport infrastructure set for overhaul under ‘master plan’

Out-Law News | 31 Mar 2014 | 12:02 pm | 2 min. read

A South Korean aid agency has been selected to help develop a blueprint to improve transport infrastructure in Ghana’s Greater Accra region.

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Ghana will draw up the ‘transport master plan’ for the Greater Accra region at a cost of $1.5 million, Ghana’s government announced on 26 March.

Transport minister Dzifa Attivor said the plan was needed to ease traffic congestion and define “areas which would be suitable for the construction of rail lines and dual carriageways, among others”.

A project management consultant will be selected to coordinate the plan’s development, in conjunction with Ghana’s transport ministry and the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council.

KOICA was founded as a government agency in 1991 to maximise the effectiveness of South Korea’s grant aid programmes for developing countries. As of 2009, the agency’s assistance for Africa in 2009 stood at more than $53m.

KOICA’s resident representative in Ghana Kwang-geol Cho said the project “would set a clear direction for transport in Greater Accra for the next 20 years, bringing all means of transportation in the region into an integrated urban transport system”.

According to KOICA, the plan will lead to a reduction of “traffic congestion and logistics costs in the region through development of policies, strategies and engineering measures”. KOICA said the project would involve a “capacity-building programme” under which Ghanaian officials and engineers will be invited for skills training in South Korea.

Road transport is pivotal to Ghana’s economy, with some 97% of passenger and freight traffic using roads, according to statistics from the Africa-EU Partnership, which said the “general condition of roads is seen as a major impediment to economic development”.

Proposals in a 2012 government infrastructure report said: “From a strategic development perspective, the government considers infrastructure investment as critical to sustain growth and diversify the economy away from natural resource exploitation. To finance Ghana’s investment needs, the government intends to rely on increased budgetary resources, concessional and non concessional borrowing, as well as on public private partnerships.”

The report added that Ghana’s roads network, which comprises 66,200 kilometres, links all districts and regions, as well as most population settlements, and is “considered adequate to meet the minimal requirements for sub-regional integration”. However, the report said the roads network “still suffers from congestion in terms of very high traffic density in major urban centres, rapid deterioration (with 41% of the road network considered in good condition), and poor connectivity in rural areas”, where only one fourth of the rural population live within 2 km of an all-season road.

Infrastructure investment figures for Ghana for 2012 to 2017, released last year by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, said around $5.5 billion had been earmarked to upgrade and build main roads – “resulting in lower transport costs and shorter shipping time”. The centre said Ghana’s government expects much of the works to be carried out under public private partnerships.