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Opinion | Aug 28, 2018

An Open Letter To The Akyem Abuakwa State Council

An Open Letter To The Akyem Abuakwa State Council

I shall go straight to the point: Akyem Abuakwa's future lies in ecotourism - which, if properly planned, could transform our priceless and incredibly beautiful upland evergreen rainforests, into some of the most visited Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBA), on the surface of the planet Earth. Definitely.

Nananom, for your information, Thailand earned US$72 billion from the 31million visitors it hosted in 2016. What stops Akyem Abuakwa- from emulating the Thai example, I ask?

The question is: What does Thailand have that Akyem Abuakwa does not have - with the exception of sandy beaches along the Thai coastline? Nananom, for the sake of future generations, you must reject the abominable and shortsighted idea, of allowing canny foreigners to destroy our upland evergreen rainforests, in order to mine the relatively poor-quality bauxite deposits in them.

With respect, Ghana's vice-president had no right to go to China and sell our birthright and natural heritage - and come back to trumpet it to the world as a "... new economic model" in which Ghana "...leverages its natural resources" for cash to fund infrastructure projects. At a time when global climate change is impacting the Ghanaian countryside so negatively? Amazing. What utter nonsense, with respect.

The creative way to fund our infrastructure, is simply to invite bids from around the globe, for well-resourced private and state-owned companies to self-finance such projects in exchange for long tax holidays. Full stop. If even our smaller sister nation, Benin, had the nous and gumption to do so and get the French conglomerate, Bollore, to self-finance a railway line linking its port with landlocked Niger and Burkina Faso, we must force blockheaded politicians here to do so too. That way, yet more debt will not be piled up onto our massive debt-mountain - to impoverish unborn generations. Haaba.

With respect, Nananom, as someone whose family owns 14-square miles of freehold forestland in the Atewa Range (purchased from Kwabeng's Gyasehene, Kwasi Banning, with the concurrence of Nana Ofori-Atta 1 in 1921 & 1926), and sees clearly the untold harm that destroying our priceless natural heritage will cause, I humbly urge you to be bold, and opt for a sustainable future for Akyem Abuakwa, in which a flourishing ecotourism industry is anchored on Kwaebibirim - and creates wealth that remains locally and jobs galore for our younger generations. Please reject the crime against humanity that destroying the Atewa Forest Reserve represents - and demand that it is turned into a national park instead.

As it happens, the Canadian conservationist who has built the most forest canopy walkways, worldwide, Ian Green, is committed to building the world's longest forest canopy walkway (1000 metres long with 19 bridges), and install ziplines - as centrepiece attractions in a conservation-through-ecotourism project to transform the local econony into a green one and guarantee a sustainable future for our fringe-forest community - in the Akyem Juaso section of the Atewa Range, if you give it your blessing, Nananom. Please do so - and set a shinning example to our hard-of-hearing ruling elites.

Okyeman - yen enma ensei da!
Kind regards,

Kofi Thompson
Kofi Thompson, © 2018

This author has authored 231 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KofiThompson

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