Over 230 investors across the world have expressed interest in partnering Ghana to revamp and expand its ailing railway sector, which includes the development of new lines that could include the North-South line, conceived in the 1950s but which has been left on the drawing board.
The investors are aiming to get a stake in the country’s railway sector master plan, which the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) estimates its full implementation to cost the country about $21.5 billion.
The amount is needed to procure new coaches, refurbish existing lines and construct additional 4,007.6 kilometers of railway lines across the country.
Because the government at the moment does not have the funds required for the full implementation of the master plan, the Chief Executive Officer of GRDA, Mr Richard Diedong Dombo, said the authority had decided to market the plan in bits to attract investors under a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) arrangement.
Although the authority had not yet put out any tenders or any publications inviting interests, it had received “unsolicited bids from more than 230 investors” willing to take part in the revamping of the sector.
The bids came from individuals, groups and banks across the globe, Mr Dombo said.
“The nation,” he explained, “Does not have the resources to undertake this master plan in one stretch. As a country, we cannot prioritise just the railway sector as there are other priorities such as health, education and agricultural so the railway sector gets just a slice of the national resources and this means we have to think outside the traditional funding box, which is government funding.”
He said the railway sector was one of the most capital intensive sectors and it, therefore, could not rely on state funds only.
“We are, therefore, looking at various sources of funding and these include the build, operate and transfer arrangement and that is why we are marketing the master plan to investors in bits,” he added.
Source: Footprint to Africa