Construction of a new bridge over the Volta River on the Eastern Corridor road will begin next year, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tsutomu Himeno, has assured.
Japan has provided funding for the 540-metre bridge, which will link Asutsuare Junction and Asikuma Junction.
In December 2016, Parliament approved a loan agreement for ¥11.2 billion ($112.39 million) from the Japanese government for the project.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra last Thursday, the Ambassador said the procurement process leading to the selection of a contractor was underway for the project to take off, come 2020.
The bridge, which will be Ghana’s second longest, will be an asphalted dual carriageway with ancillary facilities including pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes, a mini rest stop and toll bridges.
Due to logistics concentration on the Central Corridor road, chronic congestion occurs in the capital city of Accra and the second largest city, Kumasi.
The Eastern Corridor is thus the shortest route from the Tema Port to the Burkina Faso border avoiding a passage through Kumasi.
Mr Himeno said the new bridge would be an alternative to the Adomi Bridge and would increase transport capacity on the Eastern Corridor.
He gave an assurance that Japan would continue to support Ghana to develop its road infrastructure.
The Ambassador said Japan was also supporting Ghana to rehabilitate the Assin Praso-Assin Fosu road at ¥6.4 billion ($64.86 million), which had the contractor selection process ongoing, and the ongoing improvement of the Tema Motorway Roundabout, which was expected to be completed next year, among other road projects in the country.
Mr Himeno said a capacity building for road and bridge management project, which would span four years, had also started in March this year.
Mr Himeno described Ghana as an investment-friendly country and, therefore, encouraged the Japanese investor community to invest in the country.
“Ghana is a very good investment destination that can make a big difference for Japanese investors,” he said.
He indicated that Japanese investment in Ghana was on a steady increase, stressing that “three years ago, the number was 44, but now it is over 50”.
Touching on the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD 7), which is due to open in Yokohama next week, the Ambassador said it would provide an opportunity for Japan to strengthen its relations with Africa.
“TICAD is not an imposition of Japan on anybody, but it is an idea of working together,” he said.
He further indicated that the conference was purely about partnership that would lead to Africa’s accelerated development.
Ghana Beyond Aid
Mt Himeno said the TICAD had a synergy with the Ghana Beyond Aid philosophy of the Ghana government.
“Ghana Beyond Aid can be achieved and it must be achieved,” he stressed.