Sunday, June 20, 2010

Road-building in Accra

Reputable road-builders from Europe and China carve, chisel and plane our African roads with some of their cutting-edge knowhow. In no time, the rains tumble and devour deep holes into the roads and into the reputations of these firms.


  1. My blame lies squarely on the Chinese. But I am told the Ghana gvt has carved a clause in the agreements that stipulates that if the road goes bonkers before the expiry of a certain period, the constructing firm will be liable. Did I get that one correctly? I would have expected the spintex road to have been completed by now? Whats taking so long. Generally there is so much construction activity taking place around Accra, its a good sign.

  2. An in-law, who is into construction, says the foreign firms hire Ghanaian firms and give them a fraction of the contract money to do the construction. What do you say about that?

  3. Hi Lyrix, the construction example may seem messed up, but it happens everywhere in life including NIKE. It's called buying the brand. When you pay Nike $150 for the airmax or whatever, don't they just take $140 and give the remaining $10 to the indonesians who actually make the shoes? But would you buy shoes from a random Indonesian, even if you knew he makes the Nike shoes? Most people wouldn't. So it's called buying the brand. When our government gives contract to the Chinese, essentially they're saying they're buying "trust". They're saying they trust the Chinese to execute the job. That the Chinese then employ Ghanaian contracters to do the actual job doesn't matter to them. At the end of the day, the Chinese reports to our govt that the road is done, they get their money and leave. Until Ghanaian contractors can sell trust, my dear Lyrix, what do we complain about?

  4. Essentially we're comparing oranges to appes. Our govt isn't looking for a road builder. Our govt is looking for someone they can trust to build the road. For now, they trust the Chinese.

  5. Yes there is a lof of construction work going on in Accra. What pisses me off is that they don't give any notice when they are blocking major roads.A section of the spintex road was blocked today and i don't remember ever hearing any warning about it.It's so annoying especially when the alternative route is messed up.

  6. Kwame Mensa-Bonsu21 June, 2010

    Incompetent Chinese and corruption. There is not much difference btn Ghanaian labour and Chinese labour! Gov't shd just politicising contracting n make 'em actually work. The result will be there 4 all to c. Ghanaians r gud workers if they have clear targets to meet. There shd be plan n rules! Haba!

  7. But we invite them anytime we have to construct a road. The thing is the kickbacks are too much. Besides, there is a standard they have for us and that is the Standard B not the A.

  8. @ Pen Powder: Yes, such a standard clause exists, and I think the Govt even withholds 10% of the contract sum, but why should such a sum actually be used? Why not just get good people to construct the roads so that they last for 20 years?

    @ Lyrix: I say I am not surprised at all...

    @ Esi's first comment: I do not quite think it is about brands at all. And we should not be buying brands. We should just be engaging people who will actually build the roads, and do them well.

    @ Kordai: Most people involved in/interested in/lining up for govt in my life have been messed up.

    @ Kwame: You said it, no?

    @ Nana Fredua-Agyeman: Lol. Actually when these roads are built from foreign-government grants/loans, there is usually a clause that compels the govt to use contractors and some level of labour from the donor country. :-(


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