needed in transportation
A MULTI-MODAL STRATEGY IS REQUIRED IN ORDER TO BECOME A COMMUNICATIONS HUB FOR WEST AFRICA
President Kufuors administration has made a strong commitment to bolstering the highway network, the railroads, ports, and air transportation system to enhance the countrys overall competitiveness. Much of the railroad network, for example, is 100 years old, a legacy of the British colonial era, and in desperate need of an overhaul.
Ghana hopes to position itself as a communications hub for the west African region, serving key states like Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, as well as less developed inland nations to the north, such as Burkina Faso and Mali. Supporting this is the countrys track record as a politically stable, peaceful and democratic state, an irresistible lure for foreign investors. Many international operators are already using Accra as a springboard to access the large Nigerian market, and the nations ports are busy dealing with the overflow of cargo traffic that was bound for the volatile Ivory Coast.
DR. RICHARD W. ANANE
Minister of Roads and Transport
Minister of Roads and Transport, Dr. Richard W. Anane, says the
government is adopting a multi-modal approach to this vast challenge,
incorporating all branches of the transportation sector.
Our roads are poor. Being a maritime nation we also need to upgrade and extend our port and harbor facilities. In addition, the aviation sector must also be improved.
The government is starting with the highway system in a bid to end congestion and improve safety. This means first linking the major commercial centers to the capital. All major centers of economic activity in the north of the country are connected through Kumasi, the center of the Ashanti region, to Accra, he says. These important routes must be given first priority. We are also developing roads to link our ten regions.
Many international firms use the capital Accra as a commercial springboard
By turning to the private sector for help, the government wants to attract investment into infrastructure development through public-private sector partnerships, such as build, operate, and transfer schemes. It is promoting this initiative for the Kumasi-Accra dual carriageway project, the first of its kind in the country.
A $100 MILLION project has improved safety and comfort at the main airport, including a runway extension and terminal expansion
In parallel, there are plans to inject momentum into the railroads sector and the countrys main ports. Mr. Anane says rail is essential in the transportation of heavy cargo to the inland ports and onward into the sub-region. We have the objective of making Ghana a gateway into the sub-region of Africa, he says. Our ports should be able to accommodate as many ships as possible, regardless of their size or draft.
is already viewed as a regional gateway city for air transportation, and large-scale
works have improved Kokota International Airport (KIA), the countrys main
This $100 million redevelopment project has improved safety, security and comfort at the airport. It includes a runway extension, expansion of the terminal and more restaurants, as well as the introduction of various technical equipment and services.
CAPT. JOE A. BOACHIE
Director General of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority
priority is to provide the necessary inputs that will ensure safe, regular,
efficient and economical air transportation, says Captain Joe A.
Boachie, Director General of Ghana
Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
There is a greater commercial focus, however. For the KIA development, the GCAA tapped $40 million of debt without a sovereign guarantee, underlining the appetite of financiers for risk in the Ghanaian air transport sector.
The Airport City project, which is transforming the area of land around the Accra airport into a vast commercial complex incorporating hotels, a hospital, offices, apartments and shopping malls, is another departure from traditional aviation business. The giant project also complements the governments Gateway to Ghana initiative. We think that Ghana is a reasonable place to invest in, especially in the aviation sector, Capt. Boachie adds.
changes are taking place. Kumasi Airport has been declared an international
airport to serve the sub-region more effectively and take the strain off Accra;
there are similar plans for Tamale in the north of the country. Ghana Airways,
the national flagship carrier is also in a period of transition and restructuring.
While safety naturally remains paramountGhana complies with all international aviation requirements, in terms of safety and securitythere is a broad initiative to become commercially viable. Capt. Boachie says the objective behind the investment programs is to broaden the revenue base from aeronautical operations to non-aeronautical activities, such as retail and other services. American visitors to Accra should expect to see a more user-friendly airport in the future.
We are going to have a lot of shops, he points out. We now have only one duty-free operator with whom we have just completed discussions. We will also bring others on board to sell specialized merchandise on a duty-free basis. We will also have Internet cafes. It all forms part of the beginning of the commercialization.
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