The Bane of Keta and Its Reversal.
"The world does not owe us a living. We cannot live by the begging bowl." - Lee Kuan Yew, Former Prime Minister of Singapore.
The time for Keta's socioeconomic revival is here is now. No more time to waste. Why do I say so?
At the beginning of the 20th century, Keta was the third largest city in the Gold Coast after Accra, Sekondi-Takoradi in terms of revenues generated through economic activities. Keta was a formidable trading hub, a centre of excellence in the sub-region. It was a pride being a denizen of Keta then. But today, Keta has become a laughing stock, a public ridicule, a net migration town, a town crying daily for help. Shocking, indeed! Things have indeed gone terribly bad for the past 60 years.
The Keta Port was closed in 1962, the then Volta Regional Capital was moved from Keta to Ho in 1968, the Aliens Compliance Order of 1969 which led to the repatriation of the foreign merchants and the closing of the department stores in and around Keta, the floods and the Ayee Canal opening of 1963, the splitting of Anloga market from that of Keta, the construction and completion of the Akosombo dam in 1965, the exodus and migration of fisherfolks to other communities in Ghana and outside Ghana, and the unrelenting and unabated sea erosion which started around 1907—all these have dealt Keta a deadly blow from which the once renowned city never recovered.
In our lifetime, Keta has lost all its past glory.
The only thing that promises to restore Keta to its former glory in the not-too-distant future is the total development, restoration and full utilisation of the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site through the blue, green, white and visitor economies.
Keta Lagoon complex can be turned into an economic hub like Singapore and the United Arabs Emirates, Dubai or Abu Dabhi.
Tourism: The Acres of Diamond Across The World.
“Resources are not, they become......Resources are cultural appraisal.” Enrich W. Zimmernann.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) identifies tourism as one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. According to UNWTO tourism accounts for more than 10% of global GDP which is approximately $ 94 trillion. For many developing countries, tourism is the most important sector to consider for sustainable economic development by 2030. In 2019 for example, global tourism increased by 5% and accounted for $ 9.2 trillion in total revenues, with international tourism revenues amounting to $ 2.9 trillion and arrivals hitting about 1.5 billion visitors globally. Canada alone generated approximately $ 93 billion in tourism in 2017 (Source: Statistics Canada). Nova Scotia (a small province in Canada) generated approximately $ 3 billion in 2017 representing about 3% of the national tourism revenues. This is more than twice what Ghana as a whole generated the same year, about $ 1.3 billion.
Keta-Anloga Enclave: The Next Tourism Destination in Ghana.
The Keta-Anloga Enclave has always been regarded as a land of myriad marvels, natural beauties and rarities. The dynamic topography - a sandbar sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Keta Lagoon, the vegetation strength and uniqueness (red, white and black mangrove, coastal shrub and strand) have all combined to make some of the most stunning destinations which not only offers a visual feast for inquisitive visitors and tourists, but also highly educative and culturally pleasing insight into one of the oldest civilizations of West Africa.
Tourism in Keta-Anloga can become the main contributor to the economy of the area. With over 70 km of coastline with beautiful golden sparkling sandy beaches, the Keta Lagoon complex - the largest in Ghana and the second largest in West Africa after Ebrié Lagoon in Côte d’Ivoire, a designated Ramsar Site, a wetland with international importance, a unique ecology for biodiversity studies because of it rich flora and fauna, serene creeks, streams and rivulets, a unique culture, architecture, leisure, heritage and history, etc., Keta-Anloga remains one of the best tourism destinations in Ghana and the world.
Other attractions that make the Keta-Anloga enclave unique are its diverse wildlife, protected areas, clean beaches, crafts and arts, rich and colourful festivals, unique agricultural practices.
Keta-Anloga: Looking Ahead.
Keta-Anloga has a unique opportunity to put itself on the tourism map this time around, especially after COVID –19 is over. Keta-Anloga has a beautiful tourism package/ offer to expose to the world during this post COVID-19 period. This alone can help boost the local economy already affected by the COVID–19. Local businesses have all been badly impacted by the deadly COVID–19 pandemic. The tourism sector is not an exception: The hotels, restaurants, guest houses, resorts, food joints and eateries, etc., have all suffered the brunt of COVID–19. How then do we inject a new boost into such facilities, in order to bring life back once again into the local economy?
Repackaging the tourism sector is key to revitalizing our local economy.
Keta-Anloga: The Tourist Attractions.
No specific number of tourist arrivals is currently available at the Keta-Anloga Assemblies. But it is worth nothing that Keta-Anloga abounds in a lot of tourist attractions that can be capitalized on during the post COVID–19 tourism opportunities. Mention can be made of the following: forts, churches, old buildings, over 70 km of pristine coastline, breathtaking sceneries, a great local cuisine, cultural events, etc. All these tourist attractions can be classified into:
All these attractions and rarities define Keta-Anloga as a tourism destination of choice, a place to offer tourists the best of experiences and value for money.
Keta-Anloga Enclave and Tourism Development: The Challenge.
The tourism sector in Keta can make a very significant contribution to the economy of Keta-Anloga if and only if the assembly knows the WHY and the HOW of tourism as an economic sector of great significance for total socio economic development. It can be the game changer today.
Keta-Anloga Enclave cannot cash in on the economic benefits of tourism if it does not tackle all the current challenges the municipal assembly has and faces in tourism development and promotion. All challenges and bottlenecks must be first removed.
These are administrative, financial, human, organizational, and structural. Tourism positively impacts almost all the economic aspects of the local economy: restaurants, accommodation, vehicle operations, transportation, shopping, groceries, sports, culture, entertainment, vehicle rentals and local transportation.
Keta-Anloga Enclave Tourism Objectives:
The tourism objectives of the Keta-Anloga Enclave should be to:
1. Achieve tourism growth in the area and maximize the value of tourism to the economy of the area.
2. Develop and implement long term strategy to drive sustainable tourism in the municipality that delivers growth and profitability in the tourism sector and provides economic benefits to the municipality, and is consistent with the municipality’s strategic priorities.
3. Communicate and collaborate with private players in the industry in the municipality, region and country as a whole
Tourism Mission of the Keta-Anloga Enclave:
The core mission of tourism development the municipality should prioritize is to:
1. To market tourism experiences, attractions and rarities to the world through innovation and collaboration.
2. To be recognized globally as one of the leading tourism destinations in Ghana and the world.
The Way Forward:
Driving Keta-Anloga’s Economic Development through Sustainable Tourism will revolve around the following pillars.
Attract First Time Visitors to Keta,
Invest in Markets of Highest Return,
Focus on World Class Experiences,
Build Keta’s Tourism Confidence,
Attracting Foreign Investments,
Build Strong Partnerships with all Stakeholders,
Use Technology, creativity and Innovation,
Leadership and vision.
We must have new visions, new goals, new insights, new paths, new vistas, new panoramas, new fields of exploration, etc. We need new, innovative, creative and imaginative ideas, thoughts, mindsets, and attitudes that can bring people together to brainstorm, dialogue and come out with a shared vision, a common mission, collective values, agreed strategies and action plans in order to drive change and renewal and be able to chart a brand new course of socio – economic transformation of our community. The time is now. Our house is on fire. There’s no more neither crossing of the arms or sitting on the fence. It’s time to stand up and be counted. This is an opportune moment for change and development. We can! Yes, we can! Let’s do it together. History beckons us!
I am settled in my mind about this and believe strongly that the issue is about personal, local, traditional, local-political, entrepreneurial and corporate leadership. Everything rises and falls on the shoulders of leadership. Leadership is cause, all other things are effects.
There is, however, a new wind blowing, a new dawn coming, a new deal about to be struck, a new leadership emerging, a new beginning about to start.
Join us on this new journey devoid of tribe, language, colour, creed, political affiliation, background, sentiments, etc. All hands must be on deck. No sitting on the fence (of course, there is none yet), no crossing of the arms, no putting of hands in the laps, no social loathing, etc. Be part! Be a player! Be a citizen, not a spectator! Be a citizen, not a subject! Be a citizen, not an observer! It is Ubuntu (I am because you are). It's about teamwork. TEAM simply means Together Everyone Achieves More. Remember, there is no 'I' in TEAM. It's about collectivism/community not individualism/self.
Be part of history making. The saddest thing in life is that when history is being made and written before us or by us, we never know that's history. Our destiny is in our hands. Destiny is not written for us, but by us. Let's write it well, folks.
We can! Yes, we can! Right now, history is on the move!
You can't afford not to be part of this historic moment in Anloland.
Let's rise up and do it.
Resource Development and Tourism Consultant.