Press reports out of Ghana claim that the Ghanaian Ministry of Transport is considering selling off four major airports around the country in a bid to privatize the country's infrastructure though whether it is seeking to completely offload the assets to the private sector or looking for a public/private partnership is yet to be confirmed.
Newspaper reports in Ghana quote a leaked government document whose contents were initially rubbished and denied by the Ghanaian Transport Minister Mr. Collins Dauda, only to be acknowledged upon publication.
"One of such documents dated May 16, 2012 and signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Enoch Cobbinah stated that `the Transport Ministry has endorsed and confirmed to the Finance Ministry the plan to undertake through Public Private Partnership procurement and rehabilitation, expansion and upgrade of the airports.'The document clearly indicates that at least there has been a move by government to get assistance from private partners for the airports."
The airports in question are: Accra's Kotoka International Airport, Tamale, Kumasi and Takoradi Airports all of which fall under the the authority of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), a government run parastatal.
|Accra Kotoka International Airport (g2g)|
Part of the necessity for privatization has come from Ghana's strong economic growth in recent years which has seen a significant increase in air transport usage with airlines such as Starbow Airlines, CTK – CiTylinK, Fly540 and soon-to-be African super LCC FastJet fuelling the boom. Obviously, this has led and will lead to the urgent need to improve and expand existing aviation facilities in the country if it is to remain an attractive destination for start up airlines. In recent years, Ghana's principle gateway, Accra's Kotoka International Airport has seen some improvements and upgrades done to its infrastructure, though there is doubt that these have been enough to sustain the airport, whose transit figures have lept 400% since 2010.
Of course, it will all come with a hefty price tag hence the Ghanaians mulling privatization, but whether or not they want to leave their critical infrastructure entirely in the hands of foreigners has proven to be a very contentious topic. Since 1986, Ghana has moved to privatize many underperforming parastatals only to see the move socially and politically backfire when mass lay-offs were effected or in worst case scenarios (the now defunct Ghana Airways being a prime example) the entities went bust.