Residents of Cape Coast are optimistic about the US Vice President’s visit to the ancient city on Tuesday, March 28, hoping for economic and tourism boost and enhanced international recognition.
Kamala Harris, as part of her three-day working tour to Ghana, is scheduled to visit the Cape Coast Castle where Africans were once held captive and traded as slaves in the Americas and the Caribbean.
Feverish preparations are underway to receive her and her entourage when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the Castle on Monday.
Among the activities were artisans fixing and painting windows and doors, including the ‘Door of no Return.’
Mr Clifford Eshun, the Central Regional Director, Ghana Museums and Monument Board, managers of the Castle, said the facility and shops around it would be closed to the public on Tuesday, to receive the Vice President.
The Castle was working with the US Embassy to provide maximum security and is hopeful of Harris’ getting a good impression of the Castle and appreciating the difficulties of the past.
“It is good to read and watch the stories in books and movies, but it is a different feeling to experience it when one is in the Castle to witness the place at first-hand,” he said.
Mr Eshun was certain that the visit would sell and boost arrivals in the Castle as it did when Barack Obama, a former US President, visited.
“Before Obama came, the Elmina Castle was getting more arrivals than the Cape Coast Castle, but the situation changed after Obama visited the Cape Coast Castle,” he said.
Some residents who spoke to the GNA said Kamala Harris’ visit to Cape Coast would be a great opportunity to grow the local economy.
Madam Jay Afful, a salesperson at the Step Beyond Gallery at the Castle, said: “It is a good thing because more people will get to know and visit the Castle and patronise our goods.”
Mr Francis Kublenu, a trader, said he expected the visit to culminate in improved education, roads and markets in Cape Coast.
“We hope that our leaders in the region will leverage on the opportunity to lobby for development because this region deserves better…” he said.
Mr Joseph Amissah Amoah of the Akayati Craft Centre expressed excitement at the visit and hoped it would create an economy where the youth would thrive.
Kamala Harris, who arrived in Ghana on Sunday, had bilateral talks with President Akufo-Addo on Monday. Her week-long visit to Africa will take her to Tanzania and Zambia.