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08.09.2003 Regional News

Let's shift focus on mining setor - Okyenhene

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Kyebi (E/R), Sept. 8, GNA - Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panin II, Okyenhene, has said the time has come for the country to shift its focus on the mining sector as key to its economic development because it has not yielded the desired impact.

"Experience has shown us that reliance on mining to achieve economic development and growth have failed because we are still where we are," he said.

"Why don't we shift our focus to other areas such as forestry conservation and tourism?" the Okyenhene asked.

The Okyenhene said this last Friday when Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, paid a three-day working visit to tourism sites in the Eastern Region. The visit was part of a nationwide tour to identify key tourist attractions that could be developed to promote tourism in line with President John Agyekum Kufuor's vision to create wealth and economic development.

Osagyefo Amoatia said experience has shown that short-term economic and social development has brought little returns and there is, therefore, the need to pay more attention to long-term developments.

"We should, as a nation, know that whatever we do today affects our children and the unborn. Therefore, if we keep spending all our energies exploiting the rich mineral resources and see little or no development, posterity will judge us because our children will not have any minerals to mine."

The Okyenhene stressed the need to conserve some of the country's forests, such as the Atiawa Forest in the Eastern Region. "If we need to even use some of our reserve as collateral to acquire loans at the World Band we should go ahead because the eco-tourism sector is key to our sustainable development."

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey reiterated that Ghana's tourism potentials are yet to be explored and developed.

He said the country has over the years won international reputation with regard to hospitality and friendliness.

The Minister said the onus now lies on the chiefs and people living at tourist sites to develop and promote the industry.

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