Russian railway company, Geo Services, has disclosed to the B&FT that it has begun the process towards the establishment of a Railway University in the country.
To this end, the company has facilitated the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Engineering Department of the University of Ghana and a leading Russian Railway University—with the latter to serve as an affiliate of the one to be set up in Ghana.
Chief Executive Officer of Geo Services, Sergey Kamnev, says the proposed rail university will be the first of its kind in Africa.
“Let me say that, we have been mandated to open the first Railway University in Africa at the shores of Ghana. Fortunately, Ghana Railway Authority has the physical structures in Takoradi already, so we are going to renovate and upgrade it to a university.
In view of this, we have had series of meetings with the Engineering Department of the University of Ghana, Legon and one of the best Railway Universities in Russia and have signed the Memorandum of Understanding,” Mr. Kamnev stated.
The university, B&FT understands, will train the workforce for the country’s rail sector and could serve as a knowledge transfer institution should Geo Services win the bid to redevelop the country’s defunct railway network, a project the Akufo-Addo government is very particular about.
Mr. Kamnev further stated: “What we do not want to do is to bring people from Russia to work here in Ghana. This university is going to help us transfer the technology as fast as possible for Ghanaians to build and operate their own railways efficiently.”
Government is seeking to enter into a public-private partnership arrangement for the two specific projects; the development of the Eastern Railway Line and the Boankra Inland Port projects estimated to cost some US$2.4billion.
The Russian company has indicated its readiness to invest over US$12.5billion in the redevelopment of the country’s rail transport infrastructure.
“With our own unofficial pre-feasibility conducted, we are assuring you that we will give Ghana the best. Considering our record, even in the area of fatalities within the industry, I can say that, with over 100 years experience in railway in the world, we have recorded, I am sure, the least of fatalities,” Sergey Kamnev told the B&FT.
The company has further emphasised that if they win the bid to redevelop the rail sector, they will establish 20 factories to employ over 40,000 Ghanaians to support the government’s vision to create employment for the teeming unemployed youth under the government’s flagship “One District, One Factory” programme.
“If we are given the right to build the rail lines in Ghana, we are going to use Ghanaians to manufacture everything in Ghana; from executive wagons to bolt and knots. This is going to help us open, at least, 20 factories in the country,” the Geo Services boss added.