The African Railway Roundtable, focused on advocacy for accelerated implementation of Africa’s Integrated High Speed Railway Network Project (AIHSRN), has tasked President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the newly elected head of the 15-nation Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), to leverage his chairmanship of the block to revive the moribund Trans-West African Railway project.
In a press statement issued over the weekend in Abuja, Nigeria, signed by the advocacy group’s director, Olawale Rasheed, they lamented the long silence of ECOWAS over the regional rail project which they said would connect West African states, from Nigeria to Mauritania, adding that “the new ECOWAS leader should replicate his commitment to the regional project at the international level as he has done at the national level.
“It is on record that President Akufo-Addo has initiated the construction of Trans-West African Railway project as it affects Ghana from Aflao to Elubo. The project will result in direct rail connectivity with the neighbouring states, Togo and La Cote d’Ivoire, boost trade and facilitate economic growth and development in the West African countries affected by the project.
“The proposed Trans-ECOWAS railway line, a standard gauge line, will commence at Aflao in the East, at the border with Togo and will head towards the West, along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, connecting towns such as Aflao, Keta, Sogakope, Ada, Tema, Accra, Winneba, Mankessim, Anomabo, Cape Coast, Takoradi, Axim, among others, and terminate at Elubo, at the border with La Cote d’Ivoire, having a total length of approximately 530 kilometres. This is an exemplary example of leadership which should now be extended to the regional level.
“We urge Mr President [Akufo-Addo] to list the project as a priority by energising the implementation process within the ECOWAS commission. Mr President is called upon to note that the coping study has been done and various phases have been identified. Records also showed that the Commission has four years ago signed an MOU with a Chinese company. Commission leaders and some West African Heads of State have also met the Chinese leadership on the same project,” the group said.
The group said the West Africa region deserved to know the state of the said MOU with the Chinese firm including whether or not the firm was still interested in the project. “If not, it is time to throw the project open for international participation. These and more we task Mr President to take up as the new ECOWAS leader,” the statement concluded.
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