The government has abandoned a much anticipated, and well publicized multi-billion-dollar project behind the Black Star Square that officials had said would employ about 150,000 people, to boost tourism and increase economic growth.
The Marine Drive Project, launched four years ago, was to see about 241-acre of Accra coastal land put under construction. A Ghanaian Architect, and promoter of LGBTQ+, David Adjaye and Associates, was contracted for the architectural works of the project. The project however, was to be executed by Attachy Constructions and Fridough Limited.
At a brief colourful durbar at the Marine Drive, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commended the planners of the project for not considering only the economic aspect, but also ensuring that the interest of the public was factored into the design. Typical of projects such as this, planners, most often than not, consider only the economic or financial benefits.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the project was anchored on the vision of changing the face of Tourism in Ghana. He said, the project when completed will feature hotels, a Cultural Village, Malls, and Recreational Centers among others.
‘The architects have also included in the project, a Theme Park, in honour of the founding fathers of our Ghana, to celebrate their contributions to the liberation of the country from colonialist’. He noted.
But after three years of rendering hardworking citizens jobless, and homeless by demolishing hundreds of structures, evacuating some Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to pave way for the commencement of the Marine Drive Project, The Hawk news team that visited site last week found no construction activity, with a fleet of rusty and broken-down bulldozers abandoned at the site probably the only indicator of the state of the much-vaunted marine project.
Frantic effort to elicit comment regarding the state of the project, from agencies that matter had been pushed to the backburner as people concentrates on lobbying for reappointment.
The first phase of the Marine Drive Project which was first mooted by Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah in 1963, was expected to be completed within three years.
Unfortunately, three years on, the project is nothing to boast about.
Giving his assurance, Akufo-Addo said: ‘I am confident that all of us, gathered here, will be present again here, very soon, for the commissioning of this project’.
For President Akufo-Addo, the project is a realization of a pledge he and his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) made in the run- up to the 2016 elections, to revive the country’s tourism sector.
Sadly, the dream of Akufo-Addo to join our neighboring countries to make good use of our beachfronts to rake in considerable revenues for the development of our communities and country died stillbirth.
In spite of the significant contribution by tourism industry to Ghana’s economy, as the sector continues to demonstrate year after year its potential as a key driver of growth, people at the helm of affairs have paid little or no attention to the sector.
Shockingly, the Osu Traditional Council. The Ga Traditional Council, Ga-Dangme opinion leaders, Art and Craft dealers Association, MUSIGA and other interested groups which initially disagreed with government have all gone mute years after the project has stalled.
The first phase, was expected to have been completed in 2020, would have facilities including a board walk, restaurant, founders’ circle/park to honour the nation’s founding fathers, a 3000-seater concert hall, landing site for fisherfolk, a wharf and a modern fish market.
The second phase will boast commercial properties, malls and hotels, while the final phase will consist of office complexes.
When completed, it will be the single largest investment in the tourism industry in the country.
The late Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, between 2002 and 2005, helped to put a design of the project on paper but it did not go beyond that.
In 2014, the Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, took it a step further by getting Cabinet’s approval for the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Development Project but again, it stalled because of challenges with the allodial owners of the land.
In the same year, an Executive Instrument was used to acquire the land, pending proper compensation modalities.