This is Cape Coast, a town on Ghana’s southern coast that attracts throngs of visitors every year. It’s a Saturday, and hot; the sun is high in the sky. Down below, the waves push up against the shore. The structure’s white walls gleam in the midday sunshine, a stunning, white-washed camouflage to the still dank, still dark and still seemingly haunted chambers below. The group of tourists circle round the tour guide as he recounts history.
And it has a heavy history, this slave castle. For many who visit the castle, its memories and rememories are still fresh. A holding place for slaves just before their shipment across the Atlantic to the New World (and the first seat of government for the British colonial government), this is perhaps one of the more recognizable and faithfully preserved edifices of Ghana’s (and black people’s) economic exploitation. But the castle is also an important part of Cape Coast’s history, an opportunity for experiential tourism to explore the past, and a resource that could — and should — be leveraged to support the city’s economic future.
A Disconnect Between Tourism and Local Economic Development
From its beginnings, the castle had served as a node for capital gains that were strategically isolated from its urban surroundings. It is said that this castle, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was originally purposed by the Swedish for the storage of timber, gold, and other goods to be shipped to Europe; after changing hands, Cape Coast grew as a major trading nervepoint for the British along the West African route. With the popularity of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, it became a waiting depot for human goods (slaves), captured locally and shipped to the Americas.
According to Kwabena Kumi, tour guide at the castle, its dungeons could hold, on average, some 1300 slaves — 1000 males and 300 females — at one time. “But you can imagine during the peak periods,” he said, “it might even surpass that.”
At the time, little of the wealth generated from the trade trickled down to the city of Cape Coast or the locals. Today, the castle is generating a new form of capital (tourism), through the thousands of visitors streaming through the castle’s entrance gates each year who explore this aspect of Ghana’s history.
Kwabena has been leading groups of visitors around the castle for three years now, leading as many as three to four tours a day. He and the other castle staff seem unsure of how many visitors come per day, month or year. According the Museum and Monuments Board, 80,000 visited the castle in 2009, the same year U.S. President Barack Obama visited. The next year, in 2010, that number swelled to just over 89,000. But in 2011, the Museum and Monuments Board officer reported just 78,691 visitors to the castle.
“It must bring a lot of revenue,” Kwabena says, estimating it’s somewhere in the millions of Ghana cedis.
It seems a vicious cycle, where again, few outside of the direct revenue stream see any benefit, with little positive impact for the surrounding urban area of Cape Coast. But one of the challenges is that the revenue doesn’t flow back into the city. It’s a problematic aspect of the tourism sector, not just for Cape Coast, but more widely for Ghana’s “booming” economy: ensuring that opportunities for big-buck revenues flow back into and support the wider, local economy.
Read more: http://africanurbanism.net/2013/01/18/cape-coast-tourism-economics/
Asidu Abudu is a real African inventor from Ghana. He is currently CEO and MD of Foresight investment Limited in Ghana. He started inventing mechanical instruments at a young age. His inventions a revolutionary and addresses the everyday problems that african s face.
Considered to be the one of the founding fathers of Pan-Africanism.
Kwame Nkrumah (18 or 21 September 1909 – 27 April 1972) was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1951 to 1966. He became the first Prime Minister of the Gold Coast in 1951, and led it to independence as Ghana in 1957, becoming the new country's first Prime Minister. After Ghana became a republic in 1960, Nkrumah became President. An influential 20th-century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963. He saw himself as an African Lenin.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Ghana are having trouble accessing credit from financial institutions, as they have to compete for limited resources with the government and big corporations, says a financial analyst.
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As I travelled around Ghana this last couple of weeks, I met many farmers and communities who echoed sentiments around seeds and the paramount role that seeds play for farmers and their communities. But this is all under threat by a proposed bill – dubbed the ‘Monsanto Law'.
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Ghana producing cocoa in the mid-19th century and now grows about 22 per cent of the world’s cocoa. Until about 25 years ago the industry was run by the Ghana Cocoa Board, a government-owned monopoly. But in the early 1990s more liberal policies allowed people to start their own cocoa-buying bodies. Kuapa Kokoo was set up with 200 farmers across 22 villages in 1993.
Cocoa trees grow to between 12 to 15 metres high, and it is about 3-4 years before the flowers first appear. Because this vital journey to reach the flowers’ stamen is so difficult, out of the 10,000 blossoms produced by each tree, only about 20 – 30 are pollinated and become cocoa pods. Each pod contains about 40 seeds which become cocoa beans.
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Dr. Thomas Mensah is one of the greatest minds of the 21st century. Dr. Thomas Mensah is an internationally recognized authority in Fiber Optics and Nanotechnology and also a renowned Scientist and Inventor with 7 USA and worldwide Patents in over a period of six years. He has at least 25 Issued and pending patents to his name in general. He is the first black person to receive such number of patents in a short number of years, and was elected to the rank of Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in the USA.
Dr. Thomas Mensah is one of the leaders in advanced materials that find applications in Aerospace, High Speed Rail, Windmill blade structures, and highly efficient cars. His current work in nano technology will revolutionize next generation batteries for electric vehicles and laptop computers. Dr. Mensah is one of the early proponents of High Speed Rail in America that integrates seamlessly with other modes of transportation to reduce green house effects. Dr. Mensah was named 100 engineers of the Modern Era, selected out of 1000 leading engineers by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
The most popular of the scientist’s inventions is in Fiber Optics and Nanotechnology which earned him 7 USA and worldwide patents over a period of six years, making him the first black man to attain such a feat. He has some 14 patents today.
Centered in what is today Senegal and Mauritania, the Kingdom of Ghana dominated West Africa between about 750 and 1078 A.D. Famous to North Africans as the “Land of Gold,” Ghana was said to possess sophisticated methods of administration and taxation, large armies, and a monopoly over notoriously well-concealed gold mines.
The king of the Soninke people who founded Ghana never fully embraced Islam, but good relations with Muslim traders were fostered. Ancient Ghana derived power and wealth from gold and the use of the camel increased the quantity of goods that were transported. One Arab writer, Al-Hamdani, describes Ghana as having the richest gold mines on Earth. Ghana was also a great military power. According to one narrative, the king had at his command 200,000 warriors and an additional 40,000 archers.
Kwame Nkrumah (21 September 1909 27 April 1972) was the first President of the first free nation in Africa, and a founding father of the Pan-Africanist movement.
His dream was to turn Ghana into a modern industrial utopia – a society shaped by the power of science that would serve as a model for the rest of the African continent. At the heart of his plan was the Volta Dam, a hydroelectric power plant that would provide Ghana with all the cheap power that it would need to initiate an industrial revolution.
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