President Akufo-Addo has charged African regional leaders to continue pursuing the dream of building high-speed road networks that would connect all major cities across the continent.
He urged them to push towards the construction of highways with piping infrastructure for energy, gas, oil, and water, as well as Information Communication Technology (ICT) fibre optic cables.
President Akufo-Addo said these were crucial catalysts for the development of the manufacturing sector, uptake in Technological Skills Development and Research and Innovation on the African continent.
He made the call at the opening of the 3rd International Road Federation (IRF) Africa Regional Congress and Exhibition, in Accra, on Wednesday, April 26.
The conference is on the theme: “Delivering Tools for Mobility and Regional Connectivity.”
The objective of the three-day event is to, among other things, adopt a long-term transport infrastructure funding and procurement framework for the continent, deliver “vision zero” for safer road mobility, and introduce world-class Traffic Engineering and Management Solutions in the region.
It is also to enhance the quality of the transportation network through durable pavement design, climate-resilient infrastructure, and preventive asset management strategies.
President Akufo-Addo noted that despite Africa’s many challenges, the continent continued to take bold steps to boost trade among countries, specifically, the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
He also indicated that major road projects were currently being pursued by African leaders to enhance inter-mobility and promote trade on the continent.
For instance, the African Union in conjunction with regional bodies such as the African Development Bank, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, are pursuing the development of the trans-Africa highway.
Within the West Africa region of ECOWAS, detailed engineering studies were far advanced on the 1,028-kilometer six-lane expressway corridor from Abidjan to Lagos, of which 576 kilometres representing 56 per cent of the road is situated within Ghana.
When completed, the highway would augment existing transportation infrastructure and boost trade in one of Africa’s most vibrant economies.
“The Africa we all want should be an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful continent, driven by our own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.
“Vision is very achievable. It requires visionary leaders who will…. contemporary challenge and will be able to provide the necessary, diverse climate-resilient and robust transport sector, accelerate growth, technological transformation, trade, and development,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President told the gathering that his government had undertaken several road projects to improve inter-mobility, emphasising that since his assumption of office six years ago, Ghana’s transport sector had witnessed considerable growth, with roads across all 16 regions receiving major improvement.
He stated that his administration had also revamped the railway, aviation and inland water transport systems and the ports, saying, “it would continue.”
President Akufo-Addo urged African leaders to pursue safety in every aspect of the policies they implemented to reduce the rate of fatalities on roads.
The IRF Chairman, Dr Wm. H. (Bill) Sowell, said the Federation recognised the crucial role that roads play in promoting economic development, improving access to essential services, and enhancing the quality of life for citizens.
He said rapid urbanisation and population growth required urgent investment in sustainable transportation infrastructure that was resilient, safe, and efficient.
Through the congress, Dr Sowell said the IRF hoped to foster greater collaboration and knowledge sharing among delegates, as well as highlight the latest technological advancements and best practices in roads and mobility.
“We are confident that this congress will provide a valuable platform for delegates to learn, explore and share insights and experiences, and ultimately contribute to the development of sustainable and resilient road infrastructure across the African continent.
However, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah said Ghana had achieved significant strides in the provision and improvement of its road systems despite international global challenges.
With hard choices ahead, he said Ghana was at a crossroads as it sought to select appropriate technical choices and innovative funding models to achieve its socio-economic objectives.
“This 3rd IRF Africa Regional Congress has therefore come at a most opportune time where International Road professionals will share their experiences and forge lasting bonds with our planners and engineers,” he said.
Mr Pierre Frank Laporte, the World Bank Country Director, gave the assurance that the Bank would continue to support African governments to improve the roads infrastructure on the continent.
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.