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Tema-Mpakadan Railway Project: A Railway Line to Nowhere

The erstwhile government, led by the visionary Nation Builder, H.E. , initiated the to (now Mpakadan) railway project as part of the country's strategy to build a multi-modal transportation network to improve connectivity between the Tema Port and the northern parts of the country and beyond.

The project was intended to improve the transportation of goods (not just passengers) such as cement, fuel products, and other cargos from the Tema Port to the northern parts of the country and to landlocked countries such as , , and vice versa.

Pursuant to this vision, the erstwhile NDC/Mahama government in November 2016, secured funding to the tune of $398 million from the EXIM Bank of India for the design and construction of an 84km railway line from Tema to the Lake Volta Port of Akosombo. Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals for the facility were secured before the NDC left office. (For evidence, see…)

To ensure the viability of the project, the erstwhile NDC/Mahama government began engagements with the EXIM Bank of India for additional funds for the development of the Lake Volta Port at Akosombo. This was intended to facilitate the easy transportation of cargos via the Volta Lake to and from the northern parts of the country and beyond.

Sadly, the inept Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/ government upon assuming office, failed to follow through with the original vision behind the project. Aside delaying the project for several years, the government failed to secure funding for the development of the lake transportation leg of the project.

All this government has done, is to secure additional funding of $48 million to extend the original 84km railway line by 13km from Akosombo to Mpakadan for some technical considerations.

It is instructive to note, that Mpakadan has no port, while the Volta Lake Port at Akosombo which was supposed to be developed to allow for the lake transportation of cargos to and from the northernmost parts of the country, has been neglected by the ruling NPP government in the last eight years that they have been in office.

As things stand now, the Tema-Mpakadan railway line can only transport passengers from Tema through Afienya, , Lower Manya to Mpakadan. As exciting as that may sound relative to the easing of traffic on the Afienya stretch, the project is not viable without the lake transportation of cargos from the Tema port to the northern part of Ghana and vice versa.

In short, the original intention of the NDC/Mahama government to build the Tema to Akosombo (now Mpakadan) railway line, to improve connectivity between Tema Port and the country's northern region, has been abandoned by the visionless Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government. This defeats the main purpose and viability of the railway project and renders it, “a RAILWAY TO NOWHERE”.

It should therefore be obvious to any objective mind that:

  1. The Tema to Akosombo (now Mpakadan) railway project, is a legacy of the NDC/Mahama government, which secured funding for 84km of the project in November 2016. Only a government that suffers from a gratitude and credibility deficit like the ruling Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government can attempt to dispute this indisputable fact. The Mills/Mahama/NDC government, acknowledged that the N1 Highway was the accomplishment of the Kufuor-led NPP government even though the entire work was virtually done during the tenure of Mills/Mahama. Similarly, the Mills/Mahama/NDC government did not take the credit for the construction of the Bui Dam even though their administration borrowed additional funds to see to the completion of the project. This mark of true leadership must be emulated by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government.
  2. The Tema-Mpakadan railway project as it stands now, is a perversion of the original viable concept, designed by the NDC/Mahama government for the multi-modal transportation of goods from the Tema Port to the northern parts of the country and vice versa.
  3. The Tema-Mpakadan railway project will undoubtedly ease traffic and facilitate the transportation of passengers in and around the often choked Afienya stretch. However, without the lake transportation leg of the original project concept, the viability of the project will be defeated thereby delaying the repayment of the loan for the project.
  4. The cacophony of self-praise being generated by the ruling NPP over the Tema-Mpakadan project is nothing but a celebration of mediocrity. This government deserves no praise for distorting the original, well-thought-out concept behind the Tema-Akosombo (now Mpakadan) railway project, which defeats the viability of the project.

The next NDC/Mahama government will revisit the original concept for this project, by putting in place a proper lake transport system for cargos to and from the Northern parts of the country, all the way to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

This is the surest way of making the Tema-Mpakadan railway line viable, for a quicker repayment of the loan facility for the project.

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