Female bus drivers in Ghana: President of Germany visiting West-African Transport Academy in Ghana

Female bus drivers in Ghana: President of Germany visiting West-African Transport Academy in Ghana

Before the Christmas break, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, came to Ghana and visited the newly founded West-African Transport Academy where not only men but also woman can become professional bus drivers.

The background

The urban transport system in Ghana’s capital city Accra relies on small-scale private minibus operators where the drivers are self-organized and the system is demand-driven. Unfortunately, this strategy is not as efficient as it could be and contributes to permanent congestion. An average working citizen in Accra commutes between 2 and 4 hours a day. The vehicles, so called ‚Tro-Tros‘, are second-hand minibuses that are usually badly maintained and provide only a low level of comfort, reliability and safety for passengers. Most operators are male and do not have a qualification for transporting people. Additionally the adventurous driving attitude result in a high number of accidents.


Reacting to the severe traffic situation, the Ghanaian Transport ministry and Accra’s Transport authority decided to build up a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) in Accra. The BRT will bring an affordable, safe and reliable public transport solution to Accra. The Swedish bus and truck manufacturer SCANIA has been commissioned to deliver 245 modern busses for the BRT. Supporting this project, a strategic alliance was initiated under the develoPPP.de program of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (promoting sustainable engagement of companies in developing countries and emerging economies). SCANIA, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Governmental Technical Training Centre (GTTC) in Accra are part of the strategic alliance. Additionally, ZF, WABCO and BOSCH joined the alliance.


Copyright: Scania/Maria Morsing

Within the alliance, the partners founded the West-African Transport Academy (WATA) which is a training facility specialized in professionalizing commercial drivers as well as heavy-duty vehicle mechanics. The transport academy is intending to improve employability of which not only the BRT will profit, but the whole sector. By providing knowledge and information, the previous minibus drivers can qualify for a well-paid professional bus driver and get a chance to improve their driving skills. The strategic alliance is aiming to build a coordinated BRT on one hand and on the other hand trains the bus driver and mechanics to provide the BRT with good personnel.

Prominent Visit

The President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, accompanied by Brigitte Zypries, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy came to visit Ghana in December 2017.. Steinmeier and Zypries visited the new training facility and informed themselves about the training the GTTC  provides. Towards the  Ghanaian newspaper Daily Graphic, which covered the visit of the President of Germany, Steinmeier pointed out that “Germany wants to support Ghana in the case of creating jobs for young people”. He clarified that creating jobs means to give a better perspective in life and therefore the risk of choosing the life-threatening path of illegal migration gets less attractive to young people.

Copyright: Bundespresseamt / Jesco Denzel


  • The West-African Transport Academy is a state-of-the-art training facility and tries to integrate as many (ex-) Tro-tro drivers as possible. Due to the transport academy, already 75 heavy-duty mechanics and 600 city-bus drivers were trained and are now employed.
  • Previously men dominated the bus driver profession. Now there is a campaign called ‚Women Moving the City‘ to encourage more women to become bus drivers in Accra. The goal was to reach a minimum of 10% woman out of 600 GTTC students and the target has been fulfilled. Plus, these 60 places will always be available to women. The project started in June 2016 and since then already 120 female bus drivers started to work.
  • The President of Germany, Mr. Steinmeier, visited the training facility and the women that are currently receiving trainings at the WATA.
  • The BRT will generate approximately 600 new jobs with attractive conditions like health insurance, regular working hours and a salary comparable to that of a teacher.

 This article was written by our colleagues Senja Blume and Tom Ebberink.

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