Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Accra zoo animals arrive in Kumasi zoo

All animals in the Accra Zoological Gardens have been transported to the Kumasi Zoo to make way for the construction of the new Presidential Complex at the Flagstaff House.
In the meantime, arrangements are underway for the construction of a new modern zoo at a place identified in the Achimota Forest in Accra.
According to Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, the transfer of the animals would in no way stall the plan for Accra to have a fitting zoo.
The new Accra Zoo is to be built within the next five years with the help of the London Zoological Society. The animals are expected to be transported back to Accra upon completion of the new zoo in Accra.
The transfer of the animals has, however, enriched the Kumasi Zoo in terms of animal stock, putting it in a position where it can appropriately offer recreational grounds for relaxation.
This is because it now boasts about 60 different animal species on display including lions, elephants, primates, reptiles and birds.
Hitherto, it had only about 37 different species of animals on display and had become a pale shadow losing its status as a major tourist attraction in the Garden City.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has pledged to help improve facilities at the zoo, which includes walkways and access roads.
At a ceremony to officially welcome the animals to their new “home” in Kumasi, Prof. Fobih stressed the need for the public to patronise the zoo.
The minister says it is unfortunate that many Ghanaians do not seem to appreciate zoos as facilities among the very important assets of the country.
“Most people therefore do not consider visiting the zoo when planning their holidays or leisure times”, he noted.
Zoos are in most cases the only opportunity for urban dwellers to have first-hand experiences with wildlife.
Prof. Fobih notes further that despite the numerous benefits of zoos there is a wide gap between revenues accruing in the form of gate proceeds and the cost of maintaining the zoos, thus making it difficult to run and maintain them.
He said that despite such difficulties there was still the need to continue keeping the zoos for sustainable use of wildlife resources, conserving endangered animal species and researching for improvement in the management of various species of fauna across the globe.
He expressed appreciation to all stakeholders for ensuring the safe transportation of the animals to Kumasi and also extended a personal appreciation to President Kufuor and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for their immense interest and support for the zoo so far.
He appealed to other stakeholders including traditional authorities and corporate bodies to support the Kumasi Zoo so that it could deliver its expected benefits.
The Kumasi Zoo was established in 1957 by Dr A.A.Y. Kyeremanteng who also founded the Kumasi Cultural Centre.
The Cultural Centre was set up to create a venue for the reinforcement of Akan culture among the youth. Another popular activity at the centre was the telling of Ananse stories.
Thus the zoo was a natural extension of the activities of the centre because young people could go to the zoo to see the very animals they were hearing about in the Ananse stories.
The Accra Zoo was set up by the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, as a private menagerie in the early 1960s. The Accra Zoo was opened to the public after his overthrow in 1966.

Sofoline traffic congestion to go away

The 10.3 Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital- Abuakwa single lane carriageway corridor of the main Kumasi- Sunyani road, considered to be one of the most congested in the Kumasi Metropolis, in terms of vehicular traffic, has now been redesigned to be reconstructed into an asphaltic concrete surface dual carriageway.
The project, estimated at ¢732 billion, ($80 million) and being executed by a Chinese construction firm - Messrs China Geo Engineering corporation, would begin in June this year.
It would be supervised by ABP Consulting Engineers from Ghana, and among the facilities that would be provided to curb the spate of accidents associated on the road, most of which claim life and property, are bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways. According to the Acting Minister of Transportation, Hon. Felix Owusu Agyepong, the reconstruction of the KATH- Abuakwa road would involve five main components, mainly- the widening of the road from KATH to Abuakwa, the construction of an interchange at KATH and Sofoline, as well as the construction of five underpass bridges along the road and the landscaping of the entire road network.
Giving details of the project during the sod cutting ceremony last Saturday in Kumasi at the weekend, Mr Owusu Adjapong pointed out that the widening of the KATH -Abuakwa road would involve the entire 10.3 KATH -Abuakwa road which also links Kumasi to the Brong Ahafo and Western regions.
Ò The section from KATH to Sofoline roundabout which is about 2 kilometres, will be a three lane dual carriageway, with the remaining 8.3 kilometres widened into a two lane dial carriageway, he explained.
Explaining further, he said Ò there will be an interchange at the present Sofoline roundabout. This will ensure free flow of traffic at the location, which is currently one of the traffic bottlenecks in the city. He said a second two level interchange to control vehicular traffic movement would also be constructed at the present KATH roundabout, while five underpass bridges would be developed at the UCEW K, IPT, Agric College, Apatrapa and South Suntreso junctions to facilitate the smooth flow of vehicular traffic at that section of the Kumasi Metropolis.
The project will ensure that traffic will be separated at these five major junctions which have been traffic bottlenecks, he stressed, adding Ò Traffic from the minor roads will be routed under the Sunyani road through underpass bridges
Stressing further, the Transportation Minister said Ò The project we are launching today will cater for the landscaping of all road medians and selected open spaces abutting the road and within the interchange loops.
He expressed concern about the inadequate infrastructural development, including road network in Kumasi, and pointed out that, the absence of such facilities have undermined the economic development in the metropolis .
He therefore assured that the government would initiate the necessary programmes that would reduce traffic congestion in Kumasi to facilitate the free movement of goods, services and persons
Mr Owusu Adjapong also hinted that apart from the KATH-Abuakwa road, the government would develop the main arterial roads at Antoa, Kampong, Offinso, Barekese, Sunyani, New and Old Bekwai as well as the Lake Road which converge at Kumasi.
These roads are connected by the ring road which serves as the wheel, however, there is lack of fluidity and connectivity in the flow of traffic due to the bottlenecks at some intersections, including those of Oforikrom, Asafo market, Asokwa, Santasi roundabout, Sofoline roundabout and Suame roundaboutÓ, he explained.
Adding he said, there are also some missing links of the road network like that of the Oforikrom-Asokwa-Ahodwo and Sofoline link road, and stated that, the delay in developing the link roads are undermining the smooth flow of vehicular traffic in the metropolis.
He said by providing the requisite infrastructure in Kumasi, the Metropolis would be able to play its role as a modern city which is not only strategically located to enhance business transactions, but also a centre of vibrant economic, cultural, tourist and political activities in the country.
Earlier in his welcoming address, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, said the government was committed in developing the road network in Kumasi and would not leave any stone unturned to make the government realise its objective.
He expressed concern about the undue delay of the Asafo interchange, which he said had affected the socio-economic development of the metropolis.
He said unlike the Asafo interchange, the KATH-Abuakwa road would be completed on schedule and urged residents to cooperate with the construction firm executing the project to enhance its early completion.

The energy crisis

In Kumasi the electricity load management and an unpredictable energy supply is putting constraints on businesses, social activities and industry. Economic activities as well as social ones have greatly weakened with the onset of the load shedding management particularly the new two-day lights out rotation. There has been a notable decline in the activities of businesses, which rely greatly on electricity for their productivity. Cold store operators seem the hardest hit among many enterprises. Many businessmen have expressed concern about the current load shedding exercise saying it has greatly offset their economic gains and have decried the effects of the current crisis. This is because they are unable to get the required power supply to be able to go about their activities. Madam Akua Gyamfua, Manager of Gyamfua Cold Store at Asafo, producers of ice blocks told the Daily Graphic that she requires a 24-hour continuous supply of power to be able to produce one set of ice block. “Prior to the load shedding we were producing ice blocks on daily basis but we currently produce at two to three days intervals and even with that the blocks come out not well caked because of intermittent outages apart from the normal load shedding”, she said. Painting a small snapshot on the problem, Madam Jane Amoah of Obibi Cold Store at Asafo claimed products in their cold storage especially fish have been going bad day in day out because of the interruptions in power supply. She said she recently had to change the motors of many refrigerators in her cold store because they had been damaged by the power outages and also had to purchase an unbudgeted for stabilisers at the cost of about ¢10million. Public protests continue to mount in many areas in Kumasi as the solutions to the energy problem seem not to be coming soon enough. Residents in areas such as Kentikrono, Oduom, Ayeduase, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) campus and its surrounding areas and Ejisu-Krapa apart from struggling with the new two-day lights out rotation have been experiencing outages irregularly. Pupils and students in basic and tertiary institutions in those areas are being denied electricity for their studies. A primary six pupil at the St Experimental Primary School, Ms Diana Ama Pokuaa expressed concern about the trading of accusations and counter-accusations on the crisis and said that would not help find a solution to the problem. She said she has been listening to the accusations and counter accusations on radio. “The current power crisis was a real crisis for the people of Ghana” Mr Edwin Agyapong, Managing Director of Computer Processing Centre (CPC) in Kumasi (CPC) told the Daily Graphic. According to him the effects of the energy crisis was gradually surpassing the pressures of crude oil prices and said the economic cost of the energy crisis to his company was almost impossible to quantify and expressed the hope that the government would through its promises act appropriately on it. “It is very expensive running generators for our operations and even with that the generators are not able to power most of the equipment we use in our operations”, Mr Agyapong said. He said he has lost many of the clients at his Internet Cafe and said the problem was even worse when he was trying to link up with other partners in Accra and other areas through fax or e-mail only to realise that those areas have outages. The irony is that when they have light on, you also have light off so it makes it impossible to communicate as a result deals that should take minutes to accomplish takes days to accomplish, he said. Mr Agyapong called for a constructive discourse within government, within the energy sector and by the public, on what can be learned from this unfortunate experience, and how to avoid this level of crisis-point ever being reached again. Madam Mary Owusu Bonsu, a nurse at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital called for a serious attention on the government’s medium and long term energy solutions, which include the construction of the Bui Dam with support from the Chinese government. On the part of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Mr William Boateng, the Regional Public Relations Officer explained that certain areas in the Kumasi metropolis have been experiencing irregular outages as a result of cable faults during normal outages and unannounced outages from the Volta River Authority (VRA). He said cable theft during power outages has also aggravated the problem of irregular outages. He said the entire Ashanti region requires 135 megawatts but has been shedding 35 of it in the load management and added that the VRA sometimes in an unannounced manner knocks off 20 megawatts resulting in the irregular outages. Mr Boateng said many of the gadgets of the ECG currently needs to be replaced because they have been affected by the frequent outages since they were not designed to withstand such outages.

Recalcitrant traders fined in Kumasi

A Kumasi Circuit Court has imposed fines totaling ¢13 million on 26 traders who returned to the Kumasi central business district to transact business in violation of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly’s (KMA) directives.
The court presided over by Mr. Justice Owusu Afriyie warned that it would not hesitate to impose custodial sentences in addition to the imposition of heavy fines on recalcitrant traders.
The Kumasi Divisional Police Crime Officer, Mr Kwaku Duah who briefed the media about the incident said each of the traders was fined ¢500, 000, or serve three months prison term when they appeared before the court last week.
He said the traders were arraigned before the court after they returned to the CBD to transact business against KMA directives.
According to Mr Duah, the 26 traders were among 54 traders who were arrested for committing similar offences and pleaded guilty to the offence of transacting business at unauthorized places.
He said the others would also be arraigned before the court after police finish with their investigations.
He said apart from the CBD where traders have been banned from transacting any business, they have also been banned from transacting business at the Morocco Shoe House area as well as the Dr Mensah area in the metropolis where their activities always created human and vehicular congestion.
Three weeks ago, the KMA ejected the traders from the CBD and threatened to arrest those who returned to the area for any business transactions.
A Task force of 80 personnel, involving the Police, Prison officers and KMA guards among others, was established to monitor the area to ward off any trader who returned to transact business there.
As part of his tour to some project sites in the metropolis two weeks ago, the Acanthine, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II also visited the CBD and commended the KMA for their bold decision of ejecting the traders from the CBD.
He expressed concern about the activities of traders at the CBD, which he said, has created much nuisance in the metropolis, and therefore urged the affected traders to comply with the KMA directives and source for alternative places to transact business.
Explaining, he said, respecting the KMA directives would not only create sanity at the CBD and boost business, but would also create conducive atmosphere for motorists thereby reducing the spate of accidents associated at the CBD as a result of the activities of the traders.

Kumasi Metropolis to benefit from Millennium Cities Initiative

Kumasi Metropolis is among seven cities in sub-Saharan Africa to benefit from the African Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) project being implemented by the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
The project will initially focus on policy analysis impacting foreign direct investment with a view to creating employment, stimulating local and domestic enterprises development and fostering socio-economic growth.
Briefing newsmen on the benefits of the project, in Kumasi at the weekend, Nana Asante Frempong, Vice Chairman of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), and the Managing Director of Wonoo Ventures, said in addition to foreign direct investment, the MCI would promote an integrated City Development Strategy (CDS).
He hinted that the other MCI cities were Kisumu in Kenya, Blantyre in Malawi, Akure, Nigeria, Bamako and Segou, both in Mali and Louga in Senegal and that the cities would draw upon and strengthen the Millennium Development Goals already underway by adding focused urban-based components.
Nana Asante Frempong, who is also the immediate past chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, said attracting foreign direct investment to sub-Saharan Africa was difficult.
He, however, said fortunately, new opportunities to attract direct investment had been made possible due to good governance and economic policies in the sub-region and other possibilities offered by effective development mechanisms and commitment of donor resources to upgrade African infrastructure.
Nana Frempong who was once the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwabre, indicated that the major initial goal of the MCI was to build on these favourable trends and provide research-based policy analysis to help turn them into substantially increased flows of foreign direct investments.
Nana Frempong pointed out that the MCI would co-operate with other international organisations to bring the attention of international investors to the seven regional scale cities close to the Millennium Villages.
He added that these cities were important in that they were already sizeable, growing rapidly and represented the best chance for balanced industrialisation.
Nana Frempong said an advisory board consisting of recognised business leaders was being formed to provide technical and business strategies to move the MCI project forward.
He called on all business communities and individuals with business proposals to liaise and collaborate with the AGI in order to benefit from the MCI.