The Government of Ghana has signed two agreements with the Chinese Government to secure a $1bn loan to refurbish railway transportation in the country.

Ghanaian Minister of Railways Joe Ghartey told the Ghana News Agency that the government has signed two $500m agreements with the Chinese authorities.

He added that the Western and Eastern rail lines totalling 930km, as well as other railway projects will be undertaken with the new investment.

Additionally, the fund will be used to construct lines from Tema to Akosombo.

“Western and Eastern rail lines totalling 930km, as well as other railway projects will be undertaken with the new investment.”

He also highlighted that the government has ordered 30 trains. The vehicles, which are to be delivered soon, are capable of operating at a maximum speed of 160km per hour compared to the 120km per hour for the existing rolling stock.

As the trains will require automated signals to operate, the government also plans to modernise the signalling systems.

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The minister stated that railway lines built during the previous administration have largely deteriorated. Accordingly, the government plans to build more than 2,000km lines within eight years.

The Accra-Tema and Accra-Nsawam rail lines have already been rehabilitated as a part of the overall revamp of the rail system.

Minister Ghartey told the news agency that rehabilitation will facilitate transportation of workers and traders, as well as help in building railway lines from Dunkwa to Mankranso, a part of the western railway lines.

Additionally, Ghartey added that the government paid all pending salary arrears to the railway employees. A 35% salary increase has also been approved by the government.