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20.05.2004 General News

Move To Link Ghana, Burkina By Rail

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A major feasibility study to pave the way for the construction of the first inter-country railway line between Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, and the inland port of Boankra in Ghana, is expected to start later this year.

The study, which will be used to source funding for the $750 million project, will be financed by the African Development Bank (ADfB) at a cost of $5.4 million. The Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, disclosed this in an interview soon after signing a joint communiqué on the project in Ouagadougou last Tuesday and the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Housing, Mr. Hippolyte Lingani, initialled it on behalf of his country.

Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi, who was at the head of a six-member delegation, including the Acting Managing Director of the Ghana Railway Company Limited, Mr. Emmanuel Opoku, said the construction of the rail line was an important move as it would facilitate the movement of goods and people from the two countries.

He said this was also in line with the principles of the ECOWAS integration and NEPAD and also in fulfilment of President Kufuor's pledge to develop the rail sector.He said the two delegations reviewed and approved a protocol agreement on the establishment of a joint committee of Ghanaian and Burkinabe railway experts in accordance with the meeting held.

Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi said “convinced about the benefits that can be derived from the adoption of a common strategy in the search of funds, both governments discussed and approved a draft joint request to ADfB for the detailed technical and economic feasibility study and the detailed technical design of the rail link between Ouagadougou and Kumasi-Boankra.

He said the two delegations also examined a draft timetable for the project, which will be finalised later. He said all efforts would be made to ensure that adequate information was provided for the Burkinabe counterparts, as a way of facilitating and addressing the bottlenecks that existed.

On his part, Mr. Lingane said the project was of significant importance to the Burkinabe people and government, since it would facilitate the movement of exportable products from Burkina Faso to the Tema port for onward shipment to any part of the world.

He said the country also had the intention to develop the huge manganese deposits in the northern part of that country adding that “the development of the rail line would enable us to transport the product at a more cheaper cost”.

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