Ghana’s government has launched an eco-tourism project worth 1.2 billion dollars that will see a forest being destroyed by encroachments and waste dumps turn into a world class recreational destination with amusement parks, orchards, arboretum, wildlife safaris, museums, eco-commercial enclaves and eco-lodges with a little disruption to the eco system reports Ghaphic online.
“This development will preserve the only green belt in Accra, and allow the forest to continue to function as a carbon sink and clean the air and at the same time create jobs and business opportunities for the private sector,” said Ghana President Mahama
In addition, the project which will be in its capital, Accra, will house a spiritual enclave that will be for spiritual/ worship activities that will see more than 180 thousand people visit the Achimota Forest yearly. The architects will have conference rooms outside the main forest area with high seating capacities targeted at corporate bodies.
The Accra Eco-Park Project will be in the Achimota Forest Reserve, that was gazetted (as a forest reserve) in 1939 with objectives that include serving as a field laboratory research for schools in Accra, providing a place for recreation, conserving biological diversity, as well as playing the ecological role of purifying the air in the city.
Years of unrestrained encroachment has reduced the size of the forest from its original 495 hectares to 355 hectares and portions turned into waste disposal sites. A vice that the government is working on making right by
The first phase of the Accra Eco-Park Project, the city’s only green belt, will be completed in 24 months. It seeks to create about 4,000 jobs during the construction phase and 2,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs when it begins to function.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, stated that with Kenya’s Nairobi National Park generating $8 million in revenue annually, the potential of Achimota Forest Reserve has long been recognised as having outstanding potential for tourism development, considering its location in the city.
According to the report by Graphic online, the development of the project should have started earlier in the year but had to be put on hold because of a legal action in which four Ghanaians went to court insisting that the deal would harm the environment and pose health and other risks to residents of Accra.
The project is in Accra by the Forestry Commission and its private partner, Aikan Capital Limited, the company will design, build and operate the facility for 10 years.