Magdalene Apenteng | Ghana Ministry of Finance | Video
World Finance interviews Magdalene Apenteng, Director of the Public Investment Division of Ghana's Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Earlier this year we reported on Ghana’s PPP project pipeline, after the World Bank pledged $30m to help the country develop its infrastructure. Public Investment Division Director Magdalene Apenteng talks to World Finance to give an update on their progress.
World Finance: First, remind us why infrastructure investment is so important for Ghana?
Magdalene Apenteng: Ghana is a lower-middle income country, having achieved that very recently. It has a population of about 25 million, and a population growth rate of about 2.5 percent, and as of last year 2012 its GDP growth was 7.1 percent. This is quite phenomenal, looking at the entire world where the growth rates were below 2 percent. What this means is that there’s a lot of activity taking place, and infrastructure is one of the key things that a country needs, to propel growth and also to alleviate poverty. Assess the full cost, and with the intent of moving forward to become a full-fledged middle income country, we want to develop our infrastructure, make sure we have adequate services, and make sure there’s a lack of congestion, and also improve maintenance in all the facilities that we have.
“Between Accra and Takoradi there are about 4 million inhabitants”
World Finance: Let’s talk about some of your projects; one of the primary projects is the Accra-Takoradi road, what’s the aim here?
Magdalene Apenteng: The Accra-Takoradi road is one of the projects that we have identified for developing infrastructure. Accra is the capital of Ghana, and Takoradi is the hub of the oil centre, having discovered oil in 2007, and therefore the linkage between the two roads is of prime importance and significance. Between Accra and Takoradi there are about 4 million inhabitants, and once you open up this road, you’re going to provide enough services and activities, especially for production, for inhabitants of this area. Secondly, the Accra-Takoradi road is part of the original corridor that links Togo on the East with La Cote D’Ivoire on the West, so it’s part of the trans-West African highway. Again, the Takoradi Port is also a very significant place, a very significant role, in this. When we open up this corridor, then other products in terms of exports can get to the port for it to be exported, quite easily. Again we have- Takoradi being the hub for the oil centre, for ease of business, you have people moving from the capital to Takoradi quite easily. These are some of the few reasons why we would like to open up and dualise the road.
World Finance: So, tell us about the timeline, there are obviously many milestones, where are we at the moment?
Magdalene Apenteng: The project is being prepared effectively. We started off with identifying a consultant to undertake pre-feasibility studies on the road. We have identified, shortlisted, some few consultants, and they are supposed to have submitted their requests for proposals, and these will be reviewed by the end of this month, and a consultant will actually be selected to undertake the pre-feasibility studies. This will be done in a period of about 5-6months, after which will determine whether we go straight to procure and structure the project, in terms of getting a private partner to look at the design, the finance, and the construction of the road, perhaps including maintenance and operations of the road as well. If it is necessary that we do a full feasibility, then we will go ahead and actually do a full feasibility to actually ascertain the kind of structuring that we want to take place, after which procurement and negotiations of contract off the road project will take place.
“We have about 62 percent of our exports going through that port”
World Finance: As well as connecting Accra to Takoradi, you’re developing the port as well, tell us about that
Magdalene Apenteng: Yes, we have expansion and rehabilitation of the Takoradi port. The Takoradi port actually takes about 35 percent of all sea-freight that comes into the country, with the remaining 65 percent being taken by the Tema port which is the biggest of the ports in Ghana. The port in Takoradi is under utilised as you can see, however, we have about 62 percent of our exports going through that port, that is, for cocoa, for manganese, for bauxite and other products going through the Takoradi port. With the oil discovery there is a very good need to develop the facilities at the port, to take over for oil and gas processing, and therefore we need to have some terminals that would service the oil and gas. Again, we also need to have transit sheds for transmission of goods from the port to our neighbouring countries and even to the interior of the country. Again, we also want to look at, to construct, terminals for bulk ore, that is manganese, bauxite etcetera.
World Finance: We’ve talked about your transport projects, you also have a healthcare project in the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, tell us about that.
Magdalene Apenteng: Well the Korle Bu Teaching Hosptial Diagnostics Centre, is expected to provide service, efficient and reliable services as well as affordable services to the hospital. Korle Bu Teaching Hospital is the third largest hospital in Africa, it has a 2000 bed capacity, and has an out patient department of about 1400 patients per day, and also admits about 135 persons a day. What it means is that for these 16 clinical departments, we need effective services in terms of diagnostics for these departments. Therefore this centre is expected to service these departments effectively.
“The Korle Bu Teaching Hosptial Diagnostics Centre is expected to provide efficient, reliable, and affordable services”
World Finance: And you’re currently accepting bids on this project?
Magdalene Apenteng: Yes, we have already done the pre-feasibility, and approved the pre-feasibility. However, there are some issues that came up which have to get looked at, and therefore the consultant has been requested to update their pre-feasibility and the report is supposed to come in by the end of May. After which we’ll go ahead and do the procurement and negotiate a contract with the respected private partner that will actually win the bid.
World Finance: Magdalene, thank you
Magdalene Apenteng: Thank you very much Nick.