General News of Wed, 22 Nov 201731
Ghana can have bullet trains by 2021 – Ghanaian inventor
Ghanaian chemical engineer and innovator, Dr. Thomas Mensah, has advised government to ensure that the country has a bullet train within the next three to four years.
This according to him, will help the country fast track its development.
“We can have this in three years… latest 2021. When I started talking about this to President Obama, the Chinese had one high-speed rail. Now they have 40. That means they built four a year. Ghana can build a high-speed rail and have it ready in 2020,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday.
High-speed rail is a type of rail transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialized rolling stock and dedicated tracks.
A bullet train also known as high speed rail, is a passenger train that travels at very high speed
The first of such transport system began operations in Japan in 1964, and was widely known as the bullet train.
Many countries have developed high-speed rail to connect major cities, including Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan.
“We have done things that have changed America, changed England and changed the world entirely, so as a son of Ghana, I am here to see how we can move Ghana forward. We want Ghana to develop the bullet train. Ghana should have a bullet train that goes from Accra, Takoradi though Kumasi all the way to the border. Once you have a bullet train that can get from the south to the north in one-and-a-half hours, you are developed,” Dr. Mensah said. Leveraging natural resources
Ghana may not have the resources to fund such an endeavour completely, but the engineer said the country can leverage on its natural resources to make the bullet train possible.
“If we can leverage three percent of our minerals to get $19 billion from them [China], there is no way we can’t negotiate to have them build infrastructure that will really move the country forward, and that will be a significant transformational transportation system that will be the first in West Africa.”
China had 22,000 kilometres of high-speed rail as at December 2016, which accounts for two-thirds of the world’s total figure.
Developing countries like India, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, have high-speed trains with Dr. Mensah stressing that “all the developing countries are now trying to do this and this will move Ghana into the 21st century.”
“Once you build the high-speed rail, you can manufacture other things that come out of that technology, whether it is cars, whether it is advanced systems for your hospitals or satellites. Once you get that thing, you can do a whole lot of stuff.”
$21.5 billion needed to fully revamp rail sector
Ghana’s rail sector has been struggling for survival, and the Ghana Railway Development Authority has noted that $21.5 billion is needed to procure new coaches, refurbish existing lines, and construct additional 4,007.6 kilometers of railway lines across the country.
The railway master plan which was completed in 2013, proposes a new railway network comprising of 4,007.6 kilometers across the country.
About Dr. Thomas Mensah
Dr. Thomas had his secondary and tertiary education in Ghana, and managed to secure a scholarship to further his education abroad. Dr. Mensah’s works relates to the development of fiber optics and nanotechnology.
He has 14 patents, 7 of which were awarded within a period of six years, and he was inducted into the US National Academy of Inventors in 2015.
He served as Editor-in-Chief of the international textbook Nanotechnology Commercialization published by AIChE and John Wiley & Sons. The book is aimed at moving Nanotechnology from the laboratory environment to the global marketplace.
He currently has developed a smart watch which he calls “Hug Watch.” According to him, Hug Watch can change TV stations by serving as a remote control, also makes and receives calls.
Dr. Thomas Mensah granted the interview on the back of a series of lectures he is expected to deliver at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) from November 22 to 25, 2017 dubbed RP Baffour Lectures.
He will also be receiving an Honorary Doctorate, (D.Sc Honoraris Causa) from the university after the lectures.