We are glad to hear that the government, through the Forestry Commission, has entered into public-private-partnership with Aikan Capital Limited, for the redevelopment of the Achimota Forest into an international eco-park, to boost tourism which will help grow the economy.
The Achimota Forest Reserve, which is used by religious groups for prayers and meditation, we understand, is the largest remaining urban green-belt in the country and is seriously under threat due to encroachment and the conversion of part of it to other non-environmental friendly land use.
Consequently, the forest reserve, which used to cover an area of 500 hectares, has been reduced to 360 hectares due to encroachment for the construction of settlements and roads, as well as a dumping site for waste materials.
We are pleased with this timely intervention at the forest reserve, which has gained notoriety as a safe haven for criminals.
It is heartwarming to hear that a private investor is committed to invest about 1.2 billion dollars to develop the place into an international eco-park, to be the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa that will boost tourism in the country, with the added advantage of creating about 20,000 job avenues.
The project, which will be undertaken in phases, will span a period of about six years during which the forest reserve would be modified to improve its ecological integrity, and various species of plants and animals will be introduced to boost recreation, education and tourism in the country.
We also understand that the conversion of the forest reserve into an eco-park will serve as a suitable environment to absorb carbon dioxide produced from industrial activities and vehicle which impact negatively on the ozone layer.
We share in the optimism of the investor that the conversion of the Achimota Forest Reserve into an international eco-park will raise the image of Ghana in terms of ecotourism and make the country the cynosure of the world.
Development of ecological parks in cities to provide excellent places for recreation, education and tourists attraction, has become a source of economic activity all over the globe, and good examples are the Kenya National Park and the Kruger Park in South Africa, which remain the backbone of these countries’ economy.
We add our voice to the call by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, on the investor to be fully committed to the tenets of the agreement, and also provide the best of service to Ghanaians as required, to ensure that the huge investment is worthwhile.