The Accra government's infrastructure financing hopes rest with state-run lenders in Beijing, but so far oil money is not leading to a much-needed construction boom.While Chinese companies are building the Bui Dam and the Sunon Asogli power plant to meet rising demand for electricity, major road, railroad and other infrastructure projects sit on the drawing board as the government negotiates the terms of deals first signed in 2010 with the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank)."The problem is that we have very little due diligence," says Franklin Cudjoe of the IMANI Center for Policy and Education.Chinese contractors are working on several of them. When drivers attempt to navigate through Accra at rush hour – 8am or 4pm on a weekday – then they are sure to face the dreaded 'go-slow' in any direction.
A five-year $95m urban transport project financed by the World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility is due to be completed in December 2014, two years past the original December 2012 deadline.
The project is supposed to improve road transport to ease movement in urban areas and also to implement bus rapid transit systems in Accra and Kumasi.
"And we don't have an airport there [Wa], so you have to take the road."The government has tentative plans to build an airport in the remaining six of the country's 10 regions.
With $1.5bn in donor funding for the project, the government has split the Eastern Corridor road – from Tema to Kulungugu on the border with Burkina Faso – into seven lots.
In August, roads and highways minister Amin Amidu Sulemani put a hold on the awarding of new road construction contracts so the government can pay those that have already begun works.
The government expects to make progress on projects such as the Buipe– Tamale road and the Ayamfuri-Asawinso road this year.
Outside of the southernmost regions, it becomes apparent that much of the country's road networks are underdeveloped.
A drive from Accra to Wa, 710km away in the Upper West Region, can take 12 hours, not accounting for traffic."The difficulty is getting from Tamale to Wa," says a road contractor living in Accra.
The 14.1km George Bush Highway in Accra – more commonly known as the N1 – was completed in 2012 at a cost of 3.2m using funds from the US government's Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The highway is part of the ambitious Lagos-Abidjan highway project initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
There is a road network of 1,800km, according to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, on which some 605,739 registered cars ride while nearby Tema has 256,956, according to figures from the ministry of transport.