The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Ghana Productive Safety Net Project (GPSNP) and Department of Feeder Roads (DFR), has held a dissemination Seminar on Labour-based Bituminous Surfacing Technology (LBST) for District Engineers.
The Seminar aimed to share knowledge obtained from the LBST project with district engineers of GPSNP. It took place at the Koforidua Training Centre (KTC) of the Ministry of Roads and Highways in Koforidua from 24th February to 25th February 2021.
The Department of Feeder Roads and JICA implemented the ‘Technical Cooperation Project for developing Labour Based Bituminous Surfacing Technology, from February 2016 to December 2018.
The Project conducted several activities including two field trials (First field trial was conducted from February 2017 to August 2017, and the second trial was from February 2018 to September 2018) in Koforidua to come up with ‘Guidelines for Labour-based Bituminous Surfacing Technology’.
The performance of the trial construction indicates that the Guidelines can be utilised not only to provide quality low-volume road infrastructure, but also contribute to generating employment opportunities among local people – especially in rural areas.
MLGRD, on the other hand, is currently implementing the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project (GPSNP) with support from the World Bank to strengthen safety net systems which improve productivity of the poor.
One component of the project is the Labour intensive public works (LIPW) me, which seeks to extend income‐earning opportunities to poor households through LIPW to maintain or rehabilitate assets such as roads that improve the productivity of communities and respond to the anticipated effects of climate change.
In her speech, the Senior Representative of JICA Ghana, Ms. Maki Ozawa said: “The government of Ghana and JICA implemented a Technical Cooperation project on LBST from February 2016 to December 2018. During the period, various activities, including two field trials, were conducted to come up with the guidelines which were launched by the Ministry of Roads and Highways in December 2018.
“The aforementioned field trials’ performance, over three years after construction, suggest that LBST can be utilised to construct quality low volume roads and also contribute to generating employment opportunities among locals, especially in rural areas.
“Additionally, LBST can create opportunities for small local contractors to provide construction services, as LBST requires less equipment comparing to EBT. We hope that after this seminar you will gain the necessary confidence to apply the LBST guidelines for rural road construction under your LIPW programme in the future.”
In his remarks, Inusah Shirazu, Head, Rural Development Unit of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development reiterated: “The ministry will facilitate the adoption and utilisation of this technology among MMDAs, subject to availability of technical and financial capacity.
“I hope this workshop for selected District Engineers is the beginning of the capacity-building process for MMDAs. I hope we can continue to work together to create the needed hope for Ghana’s rural and urban economies and to build a resilient infrastructure base for a prosperous Ghana.”
JICA has been cooperating with Ghana for the past 58 years through several schemes, including Japanese Yen Loan, Grant Aid, and Technical Cooperation. The Infrastructure sector, particularly roads, has been prioritised for several years under JICA’s cooperation to Ghana. JICA has been utilising Japanese technological capability in contributing to the economic and social development of Ghana.
Recent examples include construction of the Tema motorway interchange that was completed in June 2020, and the ongoing rehabilitation of trunk road N8 (Phase 2). Both projects are implemented through JICA’s Grant Aid scheme. A new bridge on the Volta River, which is expected to start later this year, is being implemented under JICA’s concessionary Yen loan scheme.
So far, JICA has provided over 700 Kilometres of national trunk roads and a number of bridges, as well as technical training for officers and engineers in the road sector.