Business News of Monday, 24 September 2018
Ghana’s roads could undergo major reconstruction to spur economic and social development through easier access to and from rural areas to the main commercial centres.
The $10 billion projects will include undertaking a thorough assessment of the current road network in Ghana to identify and build roads from scratch, expand some existing roads as well as maintain others.
It is also to identify and establish lists of roads in different sectoral categories which are trunk roads, feeder roads and urban road networks to be earmarked as the baseline for the programme inception to measure the progress of work.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in Oman between the Investigroup, an international organisation with offices in several African countries, and the MFAR Group of Companies to renovate and/or construct the road infrastructure in the country.
The visit to Oman was led by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Investigroup, Dr Kizito Owusu, accompanied by other officials, including the Chief Finance Officer of the group, Dr Peter Ikre, a consultant, Mr Christian Piendl, and other local representatives.
Mr Humaid Al Habsy Ahmed and Dr Salim Al Kindi signed the MoU with the Chairman of the MFAR Group of Companies, an investment organisation, Dr P. Mohamed Ali, who is an Omani multibillionaire industrialist who will fund and work on the 10-year road construction project in Ghana.
Dr Owusu expressed the belief that economic prosperity began with the very strong fundamentals done right and Ghana was already poised for huge success economically and must ensure the road networks were efficiently and sufficiently done.
“The story of Africa’s development is changing; so too is Ghana’s. Recent economic indicators persistently point to the fact that six African countries are among the fastest growing economies in the world.
“Yet, some of these countries, such as Ghana, face such road infrastructural constraints that could undermine and even negate those advances if nothing is done and done fast”, the CEO stated.
It is estimated that road transport accounts for 96 per cent of passenger and freight traffic in Ghana and about 97 per cent of passenger miles in the country.
Aside from that, statistics from the Ministry of Roads and Highways indicate that Ghana’s total road transport infrastructure of 63,122km as of 2006 linking the entire country had made some improvement by 2011 but remains in dire need for further improvement to facilitate its transition from a rural economy to a middle-income country.
“The government, cognizant of the fact that for real development to happen in any sphere, it needs to build, expand and maintain infrastructure, principally its road infrastructure, given its relative importance launched a road rehabilitation programme that requires a $1.5bn investment per year for the next 10 years in order to plug the current infrastructure gap”, Dr Owusu indicated.
He explained that the Investigroup enjoyed the cooperation of the government and people of Ghana and sought to encourage a wide and broad buy-in from all stakeholders to make the project successful for all.
Some of the expected benefits of the project, Dr Owusu enumerated were the overall economic development of the country to be accelerated through increased productivity, better access to hospitals, schools and other infrastructure.
He further added better access to health facilities to reduce maternal mortality rates and generally strengthen the productivity of the workforce, bringing different ethnic communities closer for better understanding that could consolidate peace and foster economic and social development.
The CEO added that it was imperative to link the important areas of Takoradi with Accra via proper road networks to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that would open up with the expansion of the road.
He mentioned the road expansion linking Accra with its business district with Takoradi as important for ease of doing business, adding that the road was already part of the regional highway that connected Ghana to Togo in the east and Cote d’Ivoire.?
Dr Owusu remarked that the road also served as an economic link between the Takoradi Port and other corridors of opportunity, leading to greater productivity, efficiency and capacity.
“These projects are just a few of the private-public partnership infrastructure projects being considered by the Government of Ghana. Investigroup LLC will be at the forefront to assist in accomplishing this goal”, he added.