Ghana's President John Kufuor has laid the foundation stone for construction works to begin on the multi-million dollar ultra-modern five-star New Ambassador Hotel in Accra.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud, a world acclaimed entrepreneur, is investing about 100 million dollars into the project.
It is scheduled to be completed by August 2008, and would be managed by Movenpick Hotel Resort, a hotel management chain.
The Italian Construction Company, M. Barbissoti and Sons are undertaking the project.
Vice President Aliu Mahama and some Ministers of State and Members of Parliament attended the ceremony.
President Kufuor said he was hopeful that the Hotel would come to mirror the nation's renewed vision to attain the "Golden Age of Business".
He said given the stature of the Saudi Prince in the world of business, his partnership with Ghana in this investment should signify to other investors everywhere that Ghana was truly the place to put their monies.
Ghana, President Kufuor said, also looked forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership in diverse ventures with Prince Alsaud.
President Kufuor recalled the invaluable role the Ambassador Hotel, which was built as a gift to the country about 50 years ago by the United Kingdom, played in the nation's agenda in the immediate post-independence years, hosting important conferences and visiting dignitaries.
It was equipped with terraces, a nightclub and bars, which combined to make it the hub and focal point of social activities in the national capital.
He said, however, just about a decade after its operations it started to degenerate and the sad trend continued until the State disposed of it "in a very doubtful sale" about 20 years ago.
"The purported buyers obviously had neither the resources nor the entrepreneurial competence to restore and manage this historical asset. Thus what should have been a cherished national heritage was shamefully and corruptly transacted into total collapse."
President Kufuor noted that on the eve of the country's 50th anniversary of independence, "with the nation's economy that nearly suffered a fate similar to that of this hotel being steadily revived, the ruined Ambassador Hotel is also being bounced back to life by the Government stepping in within the past three years to find a worthy partner".
He said it was his expectation that the Management and personnel, who would be in charge of the Hotel, would show total commitment to the running of the facility and look after the revived heritage with love and sacrifice to secure for it a proud corner within the ranks of leading hotels of the world.
Prince Alsaud said they would do their best to preserve that heritage of Ghana's history and ensure that the project was implemented within record time.