ECOWAS Rail Experts Discuss Sub-Regional Speed Rail System

ecowasRail transport experts from ECOWAS member countries, on  Friday, met in Accra to discuss the proposed construction of speed rail line that will inter-connect countries in the sub-region.

The meeting was to develop a framework to set the modalities for the project, which is deemed critical for West Africa’s growth.
Bimbo Siyanbola, a  financial consultant to HAMMCO BTB Engineering International Incorporation-Canada, one of firms bidding for the project, addressing the meeting said considering the transactions in the sub-region, coupled with bad roads and long hours in carting goods, it was necessary that the sub-region invested in the sector.

He said the continent was faced with challenges in terms of cost, hours and hassle that passengers and traders had to go through to connect from one country to the other.

‘The overall challenge of moving goods in West Africa is not only time consuming but expensive,” he said besides, the number of barricades, payment of money and associated, risk of transporting goods as well as language barrier hindered the smooth movement across the borders,
“The time has come for member countries to adopt the proposed programme”, he said.

He advised that because of the enormity and the high cost of the project, ECOWAS should consider a private public partnership (PPP) financing of the project.

“ECOWAS needs a fast rail system to move people and goods out of West Africa’, he said, adding that the project required the commitment of member countries to help address the challenges associated with transportation across the region.

Dr. Divine Dzegbela, member of the team, said since the inception of the project idea, many countries, institutions and individuals had contributed, in diverse ways towards the project and stressed that the time has come for member countries to show commitment towards the cause.

The Chief Director of Ministry of Transport, Mr. Twumasi Ankra Selby,  described the proposed project as ‘laudable’ and stressed the need for serious commitment of member countries to bring it to fruition. - Francis Asamoah Tuffour    

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