Asare-Akuffo-Managing-Direactor-of-the-bank
Asare-Akuffo-Managing-Direactor-of-the-bank

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

News of the construction of a canopy walkway – Americans call it a pier – over a small portion of the Tema beachline, near the globally celebrated Meridian Rock, comes as quite refreshing news (See “Ghana Gets Africa’s First Canopy Walkway on the Sea” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/3/5). The walkway, which is 105 meters long, is also 8 meters above beach level. It is, reportedly, aimed at enhancing the tourist attraction of the country’s foremost industrial township. That the canopy is connected to the legendary Meridian Rock, which marks the geographical center of the Earth, makes the structure all the more attractive.

Asare-Akuffo-Managing-Direactor-of-the-bank

Asare-Akuffo-Managing-Direactor-of-the-bank

For those of our readers who may not know this, the world-famous Meridian Rock marks Longitude-0-Degrees and is in direct alignment with the British township of Greenwich, from whose name we get the globally recognized time marker called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The architect-contractor, Mr. Kenneth Akuffo Asare, may be quite right in observing that his canopy above the sea at Tema is the first of its kind on the entire African continent. But it is highly likely that quite a remarkable number of piers exist on the southern tip of the primeval continent, especially in places like South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique. Mr. Asare also credits himself with having constructed the famous canopy walkway over the Kakum National Park, in the Central Region. He also claims to have built another canopy across a river in Nigeria.

What is quite curious, though, in spite of all these remarkable historical achievements, is Mr. Asare’s claim that he is having a difficult time getting adequate capital-resource support. As it turns out, while he may, indeed, be an extremely talented architect, Mr. Asare may not be a very talented entrepreneur, which is why he bitterly laments the fact of not having received the requisite support from the government. And so maybe he needs to be counseled about the need to hire a business agent/ promoter of repute to explore avenues of striking up a partnership with private-sector entrepreneurs. This is one salient advantage of having a democratic market-oriented culture such as prevails in Ghana’s Fourth Republic.

It is command-economy oriented people who envisage the central government as an omnibus panacea for all societal problems. And the sooner and faster that talented citizens like Mr. Asare move away from the solicitation of government assistance, the better and more successful of an entrepreneur he is apt to become in the near future. Already, the architect of the Tema Canopy Walkway appears to be progressively engaged in a modest, albeit a quite healthy, partnership with the proprietors of the Ave Maria Resort, which was formerly called Halcrow Beach. And this may well shape up by way of presaging greater things to come. The Ave Maria Resort management, reportedly, intends to charge a nominal fee for the use of the Meridian Rock Canopy as a means of recouping its publicly undisclosed financial investment in this architectural landmark.

For this writer, however, what matters most regards security measures around the canopy, such as an around-the-clock presence of lifeguards and possibly coast guards, in case something goes awry. For as I have perennially maintained, our greatest problem as a nation is our extremely poor culture of maintenance. Which, of course, equally brings up the question of how often the Tema Meridian Rock Canopy has been scheduled to undergo periodic maintenance and repair works, while this otherwise tourist-enriching facility is actively in use.

Source:
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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