DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast – Mozambique's insurgency: After Palma, what comes next?

How Vincent Bolloré won Ghana’s Tema port contract

By Nicholas Norbrook
Posted on Thursday, 25 March 2021 14:34

Ghana's Tema Port
Ghana's main port, Tema. (AP Photo/ Christian Thompson)

A new leaked report obtained by Africa Confidential shows how French ports and media billionaire gained control of Ghana's busiest port, at the expense of the public purse.

Bolloré runs 18 ports in West Africa. The most recent to open is Tema, a high-tech facility some 25km from the capital Accra, which serves the hinterland of Burkina Faso and Mali. It is operated in a 70% joint-owned venture between the Government of Ghana and Meridian Port Services (MPS) (itself a  joint venture between Bolloré Transport and Logistics and APM Terminals)

The London-based newspaper Africa Confidential says that a secret February 2018 report delivered to Ghanaian ministers showed the terms of the agreements between MPS and the state were so tilted against Ghana’s interests, “they should be renegotiated immediately. Yet the much-criticised contracts remain unchanged.

The report details the manner in which Bolloré and its partners reduced the amount received by the Ghana government in a ‘no tender’ bid, winning $832m of tax holidays by overstating planned investment by twice the amount, and ‘surreptitiously’ cutting the Ghana government equity in the deal from 30% to 15% among other things.

According to Africa Confidential: “The terms under which MPS operates the new terminal were ‘gravely detrimental to the government and people of Ghana’, the report said. They do ‘not reflect honest business ethics between parties’, the report goes on. The history of those relations show ‘serious ethical professional deficiencies’ with the result that ‘the engagements have to be carefully and deliberately reviewed’.”

(Click for a copy of the confidential government ministerial report).

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options