The signing ceremony was led by Dr Popo Molefe and witnesed by the President of Ghana Nana Akufo Addo and the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa. The agreement is a culmination of a process which began in 2018 with a signing of a Joint Statement of Intent between Ghana’s Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey and South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.
Rail sector in Ghana
The deal is expected to full operation Ghana’s narrow gauge rail line between Takoradi and Tarkwa. The partnership is also expected to ultimately result in a shift of bulk cargo from road to rail and contribute to a reduction in Ghana’s logistics costs.
The project will be implemented in stages. Phase one involves rehabilitation and maintenance of the line, refurbishment and maintenance of existing rolling stock, locomotives and wagons at the same time supplying additional rolling stock.
Ghana’s rail sector has been in shambles for a long time now. Successive governments have pledged to revamp the sector and get it working again. The country has 947 kilometers of track inherited from the colonial era, with two lines, the western line and the eastern line. The Western line runs from Takoradi through Kojokrom to Kumasi, while the Eastern line runs from Tema-Accra through Achimota, Nsawam through to Kumasi.
The Accra-Nsawam train which was a major transport means for most commuters along that route has been put on hold since 2017. This, per the ruling government, was to help revamp the rail lines which were deteriorated and posed danger for commuters. The rail lines are almost complete, test runs have begun, but as it stands, there is just one functioning train operating in the entire country.