The President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday 4th July 2023, commissioned the renovated and modernized Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, a year after the sod was cut for work to commence on the project.
According to the President, the park which was built in 1991 and opened to the public in 1992,
during the time of the first President of the Fourth Republic, His Excellency the late Jerry John Rawlings had not seen any renovation since it was built and had resulted in significant deterioration of the edifice.
It was for this reason that he instructed the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal to close it down temporarily for renovation works to be carried out.
According to him, the park has not only been renovated, but has been completely modernized to befit the resting place of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the man who led us to independence in 1957, and consequently became Ghana’s President who has been famously celebrated.
The President in his speech said the thirty million cedis (GH¢30million) modernized park now has facilities which include a presidential library, receptive facility, mini-amphitheatre, restaurant, freedom wall, and a digitalized payment and access system. The mausoleum has also been fully refurbished, with the tombstone upgraded, and the museum expanded with an audiovisual tunnel. There is also an upgraded VVIP lounge, an expanded recreational area, a modernized gift shop, and a fountain area with synchronised audiovisuals, the first of its kind in West Africa.
According to President Akufo Addo, the project is in line with the Government’s plan to make the Park one of the best tourism and heritage attractions in West Africa. As the outstanding pan-Africanist of his generation, the burial site of Dr Nkrumah must be appropriate to his status and exceptional contribution to the liberation of Africa from colonialism and imperialism.
The Park, which attracted about ninety thousand visitors annually before the renovation, is now expected to attract over one million tourists annually.
To this end, the President charged the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and its agencies to devise effective marketing and promotional strategies to achieve the target of one million domestic and international tourists’ visitations to the park annually.
Also as part of efforts to make Ghana the hub of tourism in West Africa, the President indicated that Government will build museums and other tourist attractions in various parts of the country, including the construction of a Museum and Heroes Park for the “Big Six”, a Memorial Park in Cape Coast for the Aborigines, a Memorial Enclave in Tamale for the founders of the erstwhile Northern People’s Party to symbolise their participation in the drive for national independence. There are also ongoing works at the Bonwire Museum and the Yaa Asantewaa Museum both in Ejisu, which are in the offing. The National Museum had to be closed for seven years from 2015 to 2022 due to a lack of maintenance. However, in 2022, under his able leadership, the renovation of the museum was completed.
In seeking to delight visitors who throng our tourist attractions, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority has embarked on product improvement and customer service orientation for operators in the hospitality and tourism value chain.
To this end, the President indicated that some six thousand (6,000) frontline operators will be imbibed with the necessary customer care skills and competencies over the course of the next year to enable them to handle both domestic and international tourists.
Ghana, the President reiterated, has the potential to be the number one tourism and business hub of West Africa for several reasons.
“We are the host of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat; we have political stability and proven democratic credentials; and we have a rich and diverse culture. The Kotoka International Airport in Accra is the best in West Africa, with easy connectivity to many countries, whilst Ghana is the home of modern pan-Africanism and global African diasporan activities. Above all, we are a warm and hospitable people,” he said.
He reiterated Government’s determination to maintain Ghana’s ranking as the number one country in the Region on the West African Digital Competitiveness Index to support service delivery and enhance our regional competitiveness.
According to H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa, the improvement in our road networks and the construction of several interchanges across the country are expected to ease travel and open tourist destinations. Also, the completion of airports in Kumasi, Tamale and Ho will boost further domestic and international tourism, thereby creating jobs for people, the President added.
The honourable minister, Dr Mohammed Awal also thanked the president for the funds to support the project and he promised to make Ghana one of the best heritage attraction sites in the West Africa region. He also noted that tourism will generate 2 to 3 billion dollars per annum if the renovations and redevelopment are going to continue like this. He mentioned the renovation of other tourist sites, which includes the Dubois, and the Osu castle, to mention but a few.
He concluded by thanking the project and staff for making this happen.
The Minister of Finance, Honorable Ken Ofori-Atta added that the Late Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a man whose words echoed through Ghana way back in 1957 and fought for the independence of the country.
He mentioned that the efforts made last year brought in tourists who spent 1.2 billion dollars. According to him, it is a journey we need to continue, and the redevelopment of the park is anticipated to contribute to the 1.2 million tourist arrivals in the year. He extended his gratitude to the historians and stakeholders who worked tirelessly to make the project a success.
The World Bank Country Director, Mr Pierre La Porte, also added his voice to what had earlier been said about Dr Kwame Nkrumah and said he spear-headed the then Gold Coast’s independence in 1957 and is considered one of the most prominent leaders of our country. He, therefore, congratulated the team led by President Akuffo-Addo and the Honourable Minister Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal for their efforts. He hinted that the loan of forty million dollars given by the World Bank is for a period of 5 years and includes project activities such as the renovation of the Osu castle, the Elmina castle, the Ghana Museums and Moments Board among others for the development of tourism in Ghana.
Honourable Samira Nkrumah, the daughter of President Nkrumah said she is proud of Ghanaians for remembering her beloved father and our Ancestor Dr Kwame Nkrumah. She expressed her appreciation to the President of the Republic and the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture for the honour done to her father and said the redevelopment would not have been possible without their support.
The ceremony was concluded by touring facilities and planting trees led by President Nana Addo Dankwa and other dignitaries present.