Ghana and Burkina Faso have signed a contract for transaction advisory services for the construction of the railway inter-connectivity project from Accra to Ouagadougou.
The railway project stretches from the port of Tema through Ho, Hohoe, Yendi, Tamale, to Paga at the Ghana-Burkina Faso border and extends from Dakolato Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.
The signing of the contract paves the way for the consortium of transaction advisors, made up of Messrs Vision Consult Limited from Ghana and TEAM Engineering S.P.A from Italy, to provide technical support for the efficient execution of the project.
Among other things, the transaction advisors will lead the process to select three firms out of a list of 12 that have been shortlisted to execute the project on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis.
At the signing ceremony in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, the Burkinabe Ambassador to Ghana, Pingrenoma Zagre, and the transaction advisors signed for their respective entities.
The Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Giovanni Favilli, the Deputy Minister of Railways Development, Mr Andy Appiah-Kubi, and members of the joint committee of experts set up by the two countries for the railway project, were present at the signing ceremony.
Mr Ghartey said the transaction advisors were required to review feasibility studies on the project and also facilitate the procurement processes to ensure that construction work began by the end of 2019.
He added that the transaction advisors would also give expert opinion on the BOT regime, as well as recommendations, on the cost component of the project.
Mr Ghartey urged the transaction advisors to be diligent in taking the 12 selected companies through the next stage of the procurement process, which was the issuance of the request for qualification document from the companies for further evaluation.
“We expect that the issuance of the request for qualification documents will be done by the transaction advisor, in collaboration with the joint technical committee set up by the two countries within the next two weeks from the signing of this contract today,” he said.
Mr Ghartey described the project as a historic move by the two West African countries to consolidate trade and transportation links between them.
“By the signing of this contract, a new dawn breaks; a dawn that will totally transform Ghana, Burkina Faso and indeed Africa; a dawn that will take us to the next level of independence; a dawn that will give us economic independence,” he said.
For his part, the Burkinabe Ambassador commended the Presidents of the two countries for showing exemplary leadership and commitment to break trade barriers and improve the transport system for their respective citizens.
Mr Zagre said the construction of the railway line would not only facilitate regional integration, but also create more jobs and boost economic activities in the two countries.
“Our people are waiting to hear the sound of the trains moving people and goods. We urge the transaction advisors to work diligently to ensure that the work meets technical specifications that conform with international standards,” he said.
He also urged the transaction advisors to be prudent in undertaking the monitoring and evaluation aspects of the project and the other contractual requirements. Graphic GH