Friday, 26 December 2014

Wish-List For Mother Ghana's Benefit In 2015


WISH NUMBER1: A NEW BOARD FOR THE GNPC

On top of my wish-list for Mother Ghana's benefit in the year 2015, is that those who now rule our nation, will co-opt some of their administration's critics - and appoint them to public-sector positions that will enable them contribute positively to the nation-building effort.

It will be a clear demonstration of the new approach by an administration determined to make available opportunities for world-class  individuals in our country to participate in developing our homeland Ghana - regardless of their political affiliation and ethnic background.

No individual in this country, who has seen all the facts-on-the-ground that constitute the legacies of high-profile Ghanaians like Pastor Mensah Otabil, Bishop Douglas Heward-Mills and Archbishop Duncan  Williams, in terms of buildings and sundry structures, for example, will fail to come to the conclusion that they are indeed men of substance and true nation-builders.

Putting aside their religious background, what each of those gentlemen has been able to achieve thus far, is impressive by any standard. Globally.

It is natural for such achievers to feel some amount of frustration when confronted with the most negative aspects of our national life - for like all patriotic citizens they are anxious that the enterprise Ghana thrives and that its people prosper.

Pastor Mensah Otabil, for example, has established a reputable university - Central University College - and provided the students and faculty with a purpose-built modern main campus. How many people in the world can  lay claim to such an achievement? Is it surprising that such a man will feel frustrated by the incompetence he sees around him on a daily basis?

President Mahama's regime would be wise to appoint all three  gentlemen mentioned above, to a reconstituted board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC),  in 2015.

It will prevent the predators who count on our rumoured inability to properly monitor the quantity of barrels of oil actually produced daily from the Jubilee oilfield, from stealing what properly  belongs to all the Ghanaian people. Their presence on the GNPC's board of directors will also prevent wasteful expenditure by the GNPC.

WISH NUMBER 2: BRINGING CLOSURE TO CASTRO'S DROWNING

One's second wish for 2015 is that the Ghanaian football star Asamoah Gyan can help bring closure for the affected families of the victims of the tragic 6th July, 2014 drowning at Ada of  his hiplife musician friend, Theophiles Tagoe (aka Castro),  and the young lady with whom he drowned, Ms. Janet Badu.

My prayer is that Asamoah Gyan's professional advisors will have the presence of mind in the new year, to ask him to pay for health and safety experts from either Germany or the UK, to take a look at the operations of the  Aqua Safari riverfront resort's water sports equipment rental business, from which Asamoah Gyan and his friends hired their water scooters on that fateful day, and also report on the suitability or otherwise of any  business offering water scooters to the paying  public, being allowed to operate near the mouth of  a river estuary with powerful and fast-flowing currents.

It is a moot point as to whether or not from a safety standpoint, those who Castro hired the water scooter from, should have been operating where they were on the day in question, in the first place, in my humble opinion. If it is indeed the case that the service they offer to the public is inherently unsafe, then surely they must be compelled by the law courts to compensate the families of Castro and the young lady, Ms. Badu, for the painful and tragic loss of their loved ones?

Consumers in Ghana need to be protected in such circumstances. It is unethical for resort owners to put up signage absolving themselves from responsibility for accidents, when those they serve should not,  in good conscience,  be allowed to venture into what are waters too dangerous to either swim or ride personal water craft (PWC) in.

WISH NUMBER 3: THAT ZOOMLION SETS UP A JOINT-VENTURE WITH INDIAN INFRASTRUCTURE COMPANY JUSCO TO BUILD PLASTIC ROADS IN GHANA

Zoomlion Ghana Limited is currently collaborating with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) at Kumasi, to conduct research relevant to the waste management industry.

My third wish for Mother Ghana in 2015, is that Zoomlion will invite the Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environmnet (ICPE) to collaborate with its sponsored KNUST research facility - and that it will also set up a joint-venture with the Indian infrastructure company, Jusco, to build plastic roads in Ghana.

Plastic roads, which are built from a mixture of waste plastic and bitumen, last twice as long as ordinary roads, are pothole-free, can easily carry heavy loads and  are not washed away by flash floods because they are impermeable to water. It is an inexpensive and cost-effective way to climate-change-proof Ghana's road network over time.

WISH NUMBER 4: GROWING DOMESTIC TOURISM IN GHANA

My final wish is that in the new year, Ghana's media will help make the public more aware of the many interesting places in our country that Ghanaians can visit. Ghana ought to focus on developing domestic tourism.

Speaking personally, a quest to find examples of outbound European companies in the tourism sector,  whose business had been affected by the Ebola fever virus outbreak in West Africa (as I gathered facts for an article about the need for Ghana to focus on domestic tourism, in order to insulate Ghana's tourism sector from negative outside events over which we have no control), led to an interesting email conversation with one of the two co-founders of the Dutch overseas volunteer organisation, Amaidi, Mr. Camille van Neer.

When I mentioned a rural bamboo bicycle project to alleviate poverty in rural Ghana, he suggested that a photo-opportunity in which Ghana's ambassador to the Netherlands rode one of the bamboo bicycles,  might spur interest in them in Europe. Sound advice. One hopes H.E. Dr. Tony Aidoo will take that idea up in 2015.

Rural bamboo bicycle projects in the forest belt could draw many small businesspeople from across Ghana - wanting to export them to other nations in Africa, Europe and elsewhere - to the areas in rural Ghana (such as Apaah and Yonso, in the Ashanti Region), where they are made.

The money they spend there could boost the local economy considerably. It could also draw children from financially well-endowed private urban schools to visit those areas on school field trips to study micro-entrepreneurs at work in rural Ghana.

Ghana's tourism and creative arts minister is right to focus on developing domestic tourism in 2015. Ghana's prosperous middle classes should be encouraged to spend some of their family holidays visiting places like the Mole National Park at Damango, to watch elephants in the wild, for example.

In 2015 one hopes that tour companies in Ghana will offer inexpensive weekend trips to the other national parks dotted across the country, to Ghanaian families. The key thing is to make such weekend tour packages value-for-money adventure trips for families with children.

Birding enthusiasts and extreme hikers can contact M &J Travel and Tours , which has CSR  community projects at Akyem Juaso, if they want to visit one of the most beautiful upland evergreen rainforests in the world, where the P. E. Thompson Estate's private nature resource reserve is located.

It is in an area of the Atewa Range designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA). There is a pillar with the letters GSBA etched on it in the property, which was erected by researchers from Conservation International in 2006, who carried out a rapid assessment survey in the Atewa Forest Reserve and some of the slopes around it. Their online report is available by googling "RAP Bulletin No. 47."

One also hopes that in 2015, the ministry of tourism and creative arts will partner with reputable organisations like  the Colorado-based Sustainable Travel International, and the world's leading forest canopy walkway builders and zipline installers, Greenheart Conservation, to bring many of Ghana's  tourism destinations up to the best global eco-tourism destination standards - with creative ideas that will attract Ghana's burgeoning middle-class to holiday in Ghana: instead of travelling overseas to Europe and north America.

Above all, in 2015, may our leaders have the wisdom to rehabilitate all the roads leading to tourist destinations in Ghana.  And may 2015 be a good year for all of humankind.














































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