The proposed Accra SkyTrain system failed to materialize due to withdrawal by the financiers expected to undertake the project, the Minister for Railways Development, John Peter Amewu has told parliament.
Government in February 2018, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)with Africa Investor on behalf of the consortium, to enable Africa Investor to undertake pre-feasibility studies on the project.
The pre-feasibility studies were undertaken which revealed positive outcomes for the project.
Appearing before parliament on Tuesday to respond to a question on the status of the project, he indicated that Africa Investor and GIIF were tasked to undertake the detailed Feasibility Study within nine months from date of signature as per the terms of the MoA to determine the feasibility and bankability, after which works would have commenced by January,2020.
However, he said “Africa Investor later informed the Ministry that, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions that prevailed at the time, their technical team could not travel to Ghana to undertake the feasibility studies. In this regard therefore, their financiers pulled out of the transaction and the agreement automatically expired.”
The minister, nonetheless assured that government still has an interest in the project and “will look at it when our situation improves.”
A world class consortium led by Ai Capital (“Africa Investor”) came together to jointly develop and implement the Accra Sky Train system. The consortium approached the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) to team up to play the role of the anchor Ghanaian investor and the local development partner in the project.
Upon obtaining Board approval, GIIF took up an offer to acquire a ten percent equity stake in the project development company.
The cost of the whole project was estimated at US$1.9bn after the initial pre-feasibility studies undertaken by Africa
Investor. However, for a project of this magnitude and complexity a very detailed feasibility studies were required to form the basis for entering into a full concession agreement for its development.
The proposed Accra SkyTrain system is an integrated elevated light rail urban transit system which aims at providing an efficient, cost effective, reliable, safe and accessible public transport network which could be used as the backbone for an integrated public transport solution for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area.
The SkyTrain is a proven transportation technology with successful operations in many countries including Brazil, Bangkok and Dubai. It uses a patented Air Propulsion system that provides entirely silent operation; it is low-carbon and offers highly energy-efficient operation, using only 17 watts/passenger kilometer which is about three times more efficient than a modern diesel bus, despite providing high station-to-station speeds.
It has very limited impact on the environment – no noise, no pollution and no congestion and is thus an excellent traffic congestion solution in congested urban settings like Accra. Since the Sky Train operates on an elevated runway sited above routine traffic flows, it has no impact on day-to-day traffic flows unlike other solutions such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) which contributes to traffic congestion.
It is designed to operate continuously for twenty-four (24) hours daily and three hundred and sixty-five (365) days per year.