Ghana is to receive an 11 billion, 239 million Japanese yen loan, with an interest of 0.10 per cent per annum, for the construction of a new 540-meter long cable-stay steel bridge across the Volta River.

The loan, which is being granted under the Special Term for Economic Partnership, making it a loan with the lowest interest rate with a consultation fee of 0.01 per cent, is expected to be paid after 40 years.

At the loan agreement signing ceremony between the Government of Ghana and the Japanese Government in Accra, the Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, disclosed that the project formed part of the Eastern Corridor Road and the shortest route connecting the Ghana’s Tema port to that of Burkina Faso.

Mr Terkper explained that the construction was of great importance to the country as it comprised a complex mix of roads traversing the Greater Accra, Volta, Northern and Upper East Regions, and stretching from Tema through Akosombo, Juapong, Hohoe, Jasikan, Kadjebi, Nkwanta, Kpasa and Oti Damanko to Bimbilla, Yendi, Garu Misiga to Kulungugu in the Upper East Region.

He expressed the hope that the bridge would serve as a catalyst for regional integration and contribute to the overall growth of the economy, while boosting the export of Ghana’s non-traditional crops from the Eastern, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions to the ports of Tema and Burkina Faso.

The Minister added that as part of Government’s new Debt Management Strategy, such large scale capital intensive projects were expected to generate revenue to pay back on their investments, adding that tolling arrangements had been factored into the project to raise revenue to contribute to the repayment of the loan.

In a statement, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Kaoru Yoshimura, said the bridge was a strategic one as the Eastern Corridor represented the national trunk road number two which formed part of a major trunk road network of the country, hence the need to develop it as it would contribute to the country’s social and economic development, and serve not only Ghana but also some neighbouring countries in the transportation of goods.

H.E. Yoshimura said, aware that the development of infrastructure played a key role in every country’s economic transformation, Japan, at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD VI) organised in 2015, committed to engaging in efforts that would increase the connectivity of the whole of Africa.

For his part, the Chief Representative of the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), Mr Koji Makino, noted that the project was expected to boost economic activities in the respective areas and reduce poverty at all levels.

Mr Makino said the Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) was 26.5 per cent with a Net Present Value (NPV) of $ 191.36 million, pointing out that the project was economically viable with positive impacts such as creating jobs for the women and the youth in the community.

Source: ISD (Chantal Aidoo)