ACCRA, Ghana’s Minister for Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, says about 200 local and foreign investors have expressed interest in investing in various components of the country’s planned railway sector development programme.

The government will ensure fairness and transparency in the procurement processes, irrespective of the country of origin of prospective bidders, in compliance with Ghana’s laws and regulations, he assured when a seven-member delegation from Britain’s Department for International Trade paid a courtesy call on him here Wednesday.

Stating that the government had an ambitious vision of revamping the country’s railways, he stated that it the colonial government in Ghana could complete the Western railway line from Takoradi to Kumasi between 1898-1903, with the technology of that time, “then we can execute the task when we work harder.

The Minister said the British colonial administration left behind 947 km of railway lines but only 13 per cent of them were in operation now. It was rail that made Ghana the largest producer of cocoa and also made Ghana the richest British colony in Africa by the 1930’s,” he added.

The Minister urged the British Department of International Trade to offer the necessary support in order to breathe new life into the railway sector in Ghana, which was currently operating the Western and Eastern railway lines with the former covering 339 km from Takoradi to Kumasi, while the latter covered 304 km from Accra to Kumasi with a branch line to Tema.

The Minister stated that the Central Spine railway line which was yet to be constructed would cover a distance of 595 km to link Kumasi in the central part of Ghana to Paga in the north, near the Ghana-Burkina Faso border.

Craig Sillars, the Head of Special Projects, at the Department of International Trade, said the department was ready to partner the Ghanaian government in designing, engineering, construction and funding of rail projects in the country.