The rehabilitation of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra has begun in earnest, and is expected to be completed in nine months’ time.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, cut the sod yesterday for the US$3 million rehabilitation and modernisation project to begin.
When completed, the park, which is being renovated under the World Bank Tourism Development Project, will entail the total rehabilitation of the Mausoleum and Museum and the construction of a new Presidential Library.
The park will also have a new training centre, restaurant, VVIP lounge, an artistic freedom wall and a music and light fountain to boost night tourism.
It is expected to create over 50 additional direct jobs and several indirect jobs when completed in the next few months.
Known as the Old Polo Grounds, the park is where Ghana’s founding fathers led, by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, declared the country’s independence in 1957.
Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony, Dr Awal bemoaned the current state of the Nkrumah Memorial Park which has become unattractive to tourists.
Constructed in 1992 as a tourist site to preserve the memory of the country’s first President, the park is currently not generating sufficient revenue to sustain the facility, the Minister pointed out.
“Over the years, governments have not been able to support the park with adequate budgetary resources and this has contributed to its deterioration.”
“It was therefore found expedient to close it down and ensure a complete rehabilitation and modernisation,” he said.
Dr Awal added that “the rehabilitated park will befit the status of Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah and also give befitting recognition to the country’s other founding fathers: Edward Akufo-Addo, ArkoAdjei, ObetsebiLamptey, William Ofori-Atta and J.B Danquah.
It will further concretise the Pan-African Triangular Centre: George Padmore Library, WEB Du Bois Centre for Pan-Africanism and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park; thereby consolidating Ghana’s position as the foremost centre of Pan Africanism and diasporan research”.
The Minister believes the rehabilitation and modernisation of the park would boost both local and international tourism and improve Ghana’s rating as an investment and trade destination.
“Tourism, Arts and Culture has the potential to contribute significantly to national development and job creation and I want to assure Ghanaians and the international community that the rehabilitation and the modernisation of the park will be done expeditiously so that the park is opened by March 2023 to coincide with the country’s independence anniversary,” he said.
The Minister of Information, KojoOppong Nkrumah, indicated that the government was refurbishing a number of tourism sites across the country to enable the tourism sector to contribute to the economic growth in the country.
According to him, the tourism sector was the third largest economic sector in the country, adding that the government had taken a deliberate decision to develop the country’s tourism infrastructure to boost economic activities in the country.
A representative of the World Bank commended the government’s strategy to invest in tourism, adding that the sector had immense potential to bring prosperity to the country and its people.