Physical construction works of the Ghana-Burkina Faso railway line, which spans a distance of about 1,200 kilometers, is to commence in the first quarter of 2022.
The Joint Committee of Experts and two countries have targeted to complete the preparatory phase of the project before the end of this year to pave way for the construction of railway interconnectivity between the Port of Tema and the capital city of Ouagadougou.
Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Railway, said this on Thursday at a ceremony to officially bring to a closure the submission of detailed Technical and Financial Proposals for consideration as part of the development of the project on Build, Operate and Transfer basis.
It was also to offer an opportunity for stakeholders to interact with the three consortia to share ideas and expectations on the remaining steps in the procurement process.
Mr Amewu said a Joint Technical Evaluation Committee, comprising of experts from Ghana, Burkina Faso, as well as, the Transaction Advisors would proceed to conduct a detailed evaluation of the Technical Proposals submitted by the respective bidders to determine their completeness and responsiveness in relation to the technical requirements for the successful execution of the railway interconnectivity project.
He said it would be followed by a public opening of the financial proposals after obtaining the necessary statutory approvals on the Technical Evaluation Report.
“It is our expectation that the Technical and Financial Evaluation process, as well as, the negotiations with the most preferred Bidder will be concluded before the end of this year so that actual construction works can commence early next year,” he said.
Mr Amewu stressed the importance of the project to the development of Ghana and Burkina Faso and said that was why President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had shown an unwavering commitment to the successful completion of the project.
He stated that the completion of the project would boost economic trade, help in the transportation of freight and passenger between the two countries and further deepen the ties between Ghana and Burkina Faso.
Mr Amewu gave the assurance that all the procurement processes would continue in an open, competitive, and transparent manner in line with applicable laws of Ghana and Burkina Faso to ensure that the most technically and financially competitive Bidder was selected as the preferred partner for the development of the strategic project to facilitate the socio-economic advancement of the two great nations.
The rail megaproject will extend over nearly 1,200 kilometers, 29 percent of, which will be on the Burkina Faso side and the rest in Ghana.
In Burkina Faso, the project will begin in Ouagadougou, passing through Kombissiri, Manga, Béguédo, Garango, Tenkodogo, Bagré-Pôle, Zabré, Pô, to the Dakola-Paga border link, a total distance of about 320 km, while in Ghana, it starts at the port of Tema, through the eastern part of the country towards the river port of Akosombo to serve Ho and Yendi in the north.
The line then joins Tamale to cover the central region of the country and continue to Paga via Walewale, Bolgatanga, and Navrongo, for a total distance of 782 km.
It will have a total of 55 stations, ten of which will be in Burkina Faso.
It will carry freights that currently travel by road and boost mining activities in both partner countries.
Burkina Faso has huge manganese deposits in the northeast, where the single track line would end, while Ghana has undeveloped iron ore deposits near the northeastern town of Yendi.
It is expected that a branch of the proposed railway line will go into Yendi. That line and the one that extends to the Burkinabe manganese fields will be used to cart both iron ore and manganese ore to the Tema and Takoradi harbours for export.
The line might also improve food distribution within Ghana, providing a faster, cheaper way to get farm produce from the country’s breadbasket in the interior to markets in the heavily populated south.
The lack of good road networks often means that after bumper harvests, food often ends up rotting on farms because there is no way to get it to market.
Transport savings might also lead to lower food prices.
Most railway lines in West Africa date from the colonial era and are now rundown and neglected.
Ghana’s existing rail network, which links Kumasi to the country’s two main ports are no exception.
Besides building this new railway line, Ghana wants to revamp its rundown and barely used southern railway network by leasing out existing lines to private operators to run as a concession in return for a commitment to provide badly needed investment.