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Positive developments in Ghana’s aviation sector

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 Source: Dekportor, Mensah

Ghana’s aviation sector is set to receive a major boost with commencement of work on the new Terminal 3 at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) following President Mahama and the Turkish President’s recent sod cutting ceremony for the project. The USD$250Million project is designed to convert Kotoka International Airport into a premier modern aviation hub of West Africa with its potential positive impact on the Ghanaian economy- provided the project is not planned and implemented with a narrow perspective as is normally done in Ghana, but is planned holistically to impact other sectors of the economy.

With regard to the roads and transport sectors, the new Terminal 3 would definitely require better access to the airport than currently exists, especially with the expected big increase in passenger numbers that are projected for the airport. In this regard, an allied project to construct a new access to the airport should also be under serious consideration for implementation as part of the new Terminal 3 project. Relatedly, the small roundabout near the airport Shell filling station would have to be dismantled to create a better access to the airport. Obviously the beggers and hawkers who currently represent Ghana’s first impression from the airport would gladly be eliminated from the area with the reconstructed access to KIA.

For the sake of better and modern planning, the government should seriously consider an urban rail link on Liberation Road that connects the airport to the first major roadway that one encounters from the airport upon entry into Ghana. The new Terminal 3 thus imposes on Ghana’s urban planners the need to incorporate an integrated project planning approach into the project with linkages to the roads and transport sectors if we are to enjoy its full benefits. In related a context, the planned expansion of Tema Port which involves the reconstruction of the Tema Motoway, also offers road planners in Ghana the opportunity to expand the single lane East Legon underpass which should not be missed in new designs for the new motorway. Obviously that under pass when expanded would definitely make the new Burma Camp to Spintex road link more useful to residents on that side of Accra.

It is becoming obvious that Ghana’s technocrats and project planners are generally short sighted in project planning, and should be complemented with requisite qualified international consultants to give us maximum and modern solutions in project implementation in Ghana. Dubai for instance has been built largely with foreign technical expertise and not on a dogmatic reliance on UAE nationals’ expertise in project implementation, and the results are there for all to see.

One other sector of the Ghanaian economy that should be jolted into action with the advent of Terminal 3 is the tourism sector. Ghana has huge tourism potentials that are yet to come alive due to a lack of proper planning and a lack of prioritization by Central Government of this vital sector. Access to tourism sites in Ghana for instance leave much to be desired because there is no conscious and serious effort by government and the Ministry of Tourism to prioritize the improvement of accesses to tourism sites. Likewise facilities at the tourism sites in Ghana are generally nothing to write home about.

Although tourism development plans have been generated in the past by the Ministry of Tourism, none of them have produced the desired positive impact on tourism in Ghana. This is largely due to the level of expertise that has been employed in tourism planning and development in Ghana. It is also the fact that in Ghana tourism has largely been viewed in isolation, when in actual fact it is one sector that thrives very much on linkages to other sectors of the economy such as transportation, roads and highways and local government.

There is the need therefore to have the requisite expertise attached to our tourism institutions to drive the agenda to take tourism in Ghana to the level that would truly take advantage of the upgrades at KIA that are envisaged by the Terminal 3 project. There are tourism planning experts and consultants around the world that can be engaged to help us achieve the holistic transformation in tourism that is needed in Ghana. We should therefore adopt a progressive and international outlook to tourism planning and engage the requisite technical expertise in order to achieve the desired results in this vital sector.

The Terminal 3 project is certainly a wakeup call for the tourism, roads and transportation sectors in Ghana. Government policy planners in these sectors should therefore get to work to ensure that the project does not become a white elephant. By the way, can anyone justify why the Airport is still named after Kotoka a coup plotter, especially under the democratic dispensation that pertains in Ghana today. For the NDC, CPP and PNC parties with Nkrumaist inclinations and leanings-why are they comfortable with the name Kotoka International Airport?

God Bless our Homeland Ghana.

Report By: Mensah Dekportor (Hamburg – Germany)

Email: cmdekportor@gmail.com

Columnist: Dekportor, Mensah