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23.07.2005 Feature Article

The Economics of New International Airport in Kumasi And Tamale - A Rejoinder

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As my brother and compatriot Bawa Kuyini rightly stated in the original article (12th July 2005, Ghana web) it is becoming increasingly imperative that Ghana will soon need a second International airport in either the middle lands or North of the country.

Ghana is fast becoming a country of choice for most multinationals who are extending their activities not only within the ECOWAS market, but on the whole continent of Africa. Those who have set up African Headquarters in the Union of South Africa are now realising that Africa, which is twice the size of Europe, need a second regional headquarters in order to cover the Western and Northern half of the continent. With insecurity in the Arab North, in terms of terrorist activities, Ghana, seen as one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, must take advantage of her new found status and improve her physical infrastructure and human capital. In this respect no region should be marginalized. There should be equitable distribution of resources right across the motherland. Each region has her own strengths, hence harnessing the regions to take advantage of the favourable investment climate that prevails in the country must be the main task of the District Assembly members, members of parliaments from respective regions, the regional ministers and Nananom.

As my brother Bawa rightly stated, the plans to develop the middle lands and the northern half of Ghana was planned by Dr Kwame Nkrumah (of blessed memory) as far back as the 1960s. Dr Nkrumah's aim and ambition was to turn the middle lands and the northern half of Ghana as the main hub to launch economic development to the north and east of Africa. Dr Nkrumah envisaged that by promoting developments in the north will help bridge the north - south divide in terms of income equality. The projects that were on the drawing board at the times includes the establishment of University for Development Studies at Tamale, the establishment of teaching hospitals at Tamale and Bolgatanga, to incorporate them into the medical research centre for University for Development Studies at Tamale, building of an International Airport at Kumasi and a major regional airport at Tamale. In his drive for the rapid Industrialisation of Ghana, Dr Nkrumah fought tooth and nail to secure for future generations the strategic location of Transvolta Togo land, something that he and everyone at the time perceived to be rightly ours. This enable him to embarked on the construction of the Akosombo Dam without opposition from any quarters. By integrating Transvolta Togo land to the motherland and his tacit encouragement of other nationals to come to Accra to study at our prestigious institutions such as Achimota College, University of Ghana, Legon and other seats of learning, Dr Nkrumah laid down a solid foundation has stood the test of time.

Back to Bawa's worries about the government not getting its priorities right in terms of infrastructure development, this writer, although understands the underlining frustrations of Bawa and others, however what President Rawlings did and President Kufuor is doing now is executing those plans that were drawn up during the CPP and PP administrations of yester years. Although Bawa's concerns are based on our limited resources and quite right too, but in this instance I will for once disagree with my brother Bawa.

With the increasing influx visitors into the country from Europe and North America it is important that Kumasi airport or Tamale airport is rebuilt or as the government is rightly doing build a new international airport in our second city (the Garden city), and as we become advanced then we can consider building a third international airport at our third city of Tamale. Although my Bawa argue that the existing structures in Tamale and Kumasi could be rehabilitated and harnessed for an international airport at minimal cost to the government. In as much as Bawa's point seems laudable, however with the imminent launch of Airbus 380, it is important that we build an airport that can accommodate this monster airplane and its future siblings. We cannot wait until 2020 when the cost building of an international airport becomes astronomical before we start to figure out where to get the resources for the airport and other projects. Thus this writer will like to assure his brother Bawa that the building of new completely international airport is not economics but of its strategic importance to an country. In this regard this writer is appealing to the policy makers to encourage manufactures to site their productions in the North and Volta Region. Thus it is important to improve our road infrastructure, especially those linking the south, east and west to the north. The Accra - Keta high way, the Accra - Kumasi and Kumasi - Tamale-Bolgatanga - Wa high ways should be up graded to motorway as well as the Accra-Takoradi - Axim road network. By building good road and railroad networks that cities like Sekondi, Ho, Konforidua, Nkwakwau, Konongo, Cape Coast, Wa, Kintampo and others that have declined into ghost towns can regain their former glories.

With regards to Ghana's poor, this writer and others have been urging the government to use part of the large inflows from Ghanaians in diaspora in the development of social infrastructure. However it is imperative that the development of Tamale, Kumasi and Ho by this administration should continue. The strategic importance of these cities to our national development and security means we the diaspora and those at home must work in unison to ensure that we are on course towards the VISION 2020. The VISION 2020 PROJECT is not negotiable. The future generations would never forgive us if we fail to achieve the VISION. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Peter Nee Jeffrey
Peter Nee Jeffrey, © 2005

The author has 54 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: PeterNeeJeffrey

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