ACCRA - Over half-a-billion-dollar loan from China Development Bank (CDB) to Ghana has been earmarked for some strategic roads in the West African country, Ghanaian Minister for Roads and Highways Joe Gidisu said Tuesday.
In all, $526.74 million out of the CDB loan, according to the minister, shall be spent on three road networks as part of the government's efforts to accelerate road infrastructural development that would open up the country's economy.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Gidisu said $112.74 million had been earmarked for four different road networks in the oil and gas enclave in south-western Ghana, while $234 million are for the beach road linking the capital with the port city of Tema, 38 km east of Accra. In addition, $180 million have been allotted for the bitumen surfacing of a 400 km gravel road and the graveling of a 300 km earth road.
"This is to improve access roads under the Eastern Corridor Multimodal Transportation Project," said the minister.
Ghana said it had inspected 388 road projects this year but needed some more financing to complete most of them.
The government introduced a road toll to raise funds for road maintenance, which had been experiencing some leakage with personnel suspected to be siphoning resources into their private pockets.
Gidisu said the government hoped to stop this by introducing an automated system of road tolling.
Transportation remains one of the strategic sectors of Ghana's economy, forming a substantial part of the social safety nets, facilitating the distribution of wealth through trade and employment opportunities in both urban and rural communities.
Many economists support the government in its belief that the country's ability to achieve national targets for growth and poverty reduction depends to a large extent on an efficient, reliable and safe road infrastructure system which is adequate and affordable, complementing other modes.
Over the years, agencies such as the African Development Bank, The World Bank, Agence Francaise de Developpement, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Saudi Fund, among many others, have been funding road projects in Ghana.
Recently, the Chinese government and companies have been playing a significant part in Ghana's road infrastructural development.
Apart from direct government funding for road projects in Ghana, Chinese construction firms have been working on numerous road projects not necessarily funded by their government.