The Forest Reserve at Achimota in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana will soon be turned into an Eco-Park facility for tourist attraction.

The project, which is expected to kick off by the third quarter of the year, with support from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will be executed at the cost of US $ 1.2 billion.

When developed, the Eco-Park will provide a good environment to absorb carbon dioxide, produced from industrial activities and vehicles, save the forest from further destruction from encroachers and generate revenue for the country.

The strategic development partner, Aikan Capital Limited, per the agreement, is expected to design, finance, develop, operate and maintain the Eco Park and proceeds from the venture shared with government.

At a ceremony to sign the agreement for the commencement of the project in Accra, yesterday, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resource, Nii Osah Mills, disclosed that Cabinet, in September 2013, had approved the strategic plan and roadmap for the development of the Accra Eco-park project through a Public-Private-Partnership arrangement, leading to the constitution of two committees to oversee the preparatory process for the project.

Mr Mills commended his predecessors for the efforts at initiating the project and urged all key stakeholders to collaborate with the Forestry Commission and the development partners to ensure that the Accra Eco-Park project became a reality.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, said it was in the hope to develop the wild life sector that the country decided to study from countries doing well in the sector which led to interactions with South Africa and Kenya.

Mr Dartey disclosed that it was from Kenya’s experience and performance in the sector that led Ghana to expand its natural reserves like the Mole National Park, the Kakum National Park and the Shai hills, with the motive of transforming the Achimota Forest into an ecological garden.

When complete, Mr Dartey said, the project would create 20,000 jobs for Ghanaians 5,000 jobs being the initial start-up, adding that the site would be opened for scientific and academic research.

For his part, Aikan Capital Limited, Mr Oheneba Otchere said the project would put Ghana on the global market in terms of Eco-tourism.

Source: ISD (Chantal Aidoo & Aliyah Bayali)