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Transport in Ghana

The country's two major ports are both artificial: Takoradi, built in the 1920s, and Tema, which was opened in 1961 to replace the Accra roadstead, and which became an industrial centre. The rehabilitation of the two ports, at an estimated cost of US $100m was completed in 1990. An additional programme to rehabilitate Takoradi commenced in mid-1995. Facilities are to be upgraded further in a $365m. Project, which also aims to give greater operational autonomy to both ports.


The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority undertook the dredging of the ports in 1996. The Ghana merchant shipping fleet had a total displacement of 225,000 gross registered tons in 1982, but its size was subsequently reduced, as the national Black Star Line disposed of some of its ships, owing to recurrent labour disputes and an increasing debt burden. Total displacement stood at 134,686 grt in 1996.

There are 1,300 km of railway, forming a triangle between Takoradi, Kumasi and Accra- Tema. Exports traditionally accounted for the greater part of railway freight tonnage, but cocoa and timber were diverted to the roads as rail facilities deteriorated, and the railways have required a regular government subsidy since 1976. In 1988 the IDA and the ADB provided a credit of US $42m. towards a project to rehabilitate the Western Line railway from Kumasi to Takoradi.

Equipment worth $12.8m. was also provided by the IDA to help to repair faulty track. In 1996 the government committed US $150m. towards further upgrading the Western Line to link the mining areas with Takoradi port. In 1995 Ghana Railway Corpn took delivery of three new locomotives and 60 goods wagons, funded by Germany's Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KFW) and Japan's Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF).

In 1996 there were an estimated 37,800-km of classified roads, of which 24.1% were paved. The road system is good by tropical African standards, but its maintenance was a constant problem from the early 1960s. Vehicle spare parts were also scarce, and the internal distributive system deteriorated physically. In 1991 the government initiated a major five-year programme of road development and rehabilitation, at an estimated cost of us $142.3m. Work commenced in 1996 on eight new roads with a combined length of 466 km and a combined cost of C326, 500m.

The overwhelming focus of construction in the transport sector in the late 1990s was on roads, with work being completed on four new roads in 1996. In addition, 87 km of roads were gravelled in that year and a further 213 km were resurfaced, including two roads in the Obuasi area. Government spending on road construction in 1999 was expected to total C603, 500m.

with C832,700m projected in 2000 and C863,900m. in 2001.However, the minister of finance announced during his 1999 budget speech that 'in an effort to demonstrate the feasibility of private-sector financing of toll roads' and 'for the purposes of improving cost recovery , tolls were to be introduced on 'newly-reconstructed or -rehabilitated' roads and bridges.

In 2005 the Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways announced plans to extend the railway system to facilitate economic development. To begin, $5 million was sought from the African Development Bank (ADB) for feasibility studies. Possible projects at the time included extending a line from Ejisu to Nkoranza and Techiman; a line from Tamale to Bolgatanga and Paga to Burkina Faso; a line from Wenchi, Bole to Wa and Hamile and also to Burkina Faso, and a line to Yendi where there are iron ore deposits.

In March 2007, a Private Public Partnership was proposed to rehabilitate the Eastern Railway from Accra to Ejisu and Kumasi, with an extension from Ejisu via Mampong, Nkoranza, Tamale, Bolgatanga and Paga, with a branch from Tamale to Yendi and Sheini. The extension starts at Kumasi and will cost $1.6b.

In February 2008 the Ghana General News reported that the Ministry of Harbours and Railways and the Ghana Railway Corporation (GRC) expected to complete a new commuter line linking Accra and Tema by June 2008. The formation was complete from Sakumono to the SSNIT flats near Tema. Diesel multiple-unit trainsets will be imported for use on the line. Construction of sleeper plant for the far north line was also initiated in 2008.

Existing roads designated for toll status included Tema-Akosombo, Yamoransa-Takoradi, Yamoransa-Anwiankwanta, Accra-Yamoransa, Accra-Kumasi, Kumasi-Dunkwa, Tema-Aflao and Kumasi-Kintampo. The creation of the Volta Lake, stretching some 400km inland from the Akosombo dam, opened up new possibilities for internal transportation, but lake transport is still relatively modest. In the late 1980s the Federal Republic of Germany financed a project to construct new ports on the lake, and to establish a new cargo and passenger service. There is an international airport at Kotoka, near Accra, and other airports at Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi, Tamale and Wa serve inland traffic.national airline is Ghana Airways.

The Trans-West African Coastal Highway, part of the Trans-African Highway network crosses Ghana, connecting it to Abidjan, (Côte d'Ivoire), Lomé, (Togo) as well as Benin and Nigeria. Eventually the highway will connect to another seven ECOWAS nations to the west. A paved highway also connects Ghana north to landlocked Burkina Faso, where it joins another highway in the Trans-African network, the Trans-Sahelian Highway.

Last Updated on Wednesday 9th December 2009

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