The Forestry Commission has signed a memorandum of understanding with TC’S Energy Limited USA Inc to develop the Digya national park in the Bono Region into a green city resort.
With an investment of US$11 billion, the partners seek to transform Ghana’s oldest Wildlife Park into West Africa’s biggest eco-resort.
The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr John Allotey signed the document for the commission while Mr Anthony Opoku, the Chief Executive Officer, of TC’s Energy initialled it on behalf of the company.
Mr Allotey said the project forms part of the commission’s effort to move from dependency on timber resources, adding that the prospects looked good.
He said the Commission is pursuing the development of responsible, nature-based tourism to source for funds to further conserve and run protected areas.
“As a result of Forestry Commission’s re-constitution and a shift in orientation, the need arose to improve its revenues to meet its own funding requirements through tourism development and promotion within Protected Areas, and with greater private sector participation,” he said.
Currently, three of the country’s parks, the Shai Hills, Mole and Kakum offer eco-tourism adventures.
He said the creation of the Green City would open up the Bono Region, create jobs, enhance revenue for the government and deepen the development of the local economy.
“All these come with its multiplying effects on the country as a whole. we have not lost sight of the fact that while developing the Green City, we should also keep our forest intact. That is why it is a “Green” city and indeed it will be so.
“Trees will be felled when it is extremely necessary at the project site and more will be replanted to replace the lost ones to keep the forest intact,” he said.
For his part, the Chief Executive of TC’s Energy, Anthony Opoku, said the company had the capacity, knowledge, the technical and financial support to undertake the project.
“When we first engaged we decided that we would form a partnership and it’ll become a joint venture between TC Energy USA and the Forestry Commission. We want the commission to be self-sustaining and earned revenue from the project.
“The aim is to create jobs and develop our forest resources,” he said.
The Digya National Park is Ghana’s oldest wildlife reserve. It was established in 1900 but was gazetted as a national park in 1971.
When completed by 2027, the Green city will have facilities including railway lines, security settlements, suspended water walks facilities and cruising, forest walk trails, golf parks, African art craft villages, bird watching facilities, natural museum, eco-lodges and luxury hotels.
The other attractions would include casinos, health SPA, meditation enclaves, children’s / amusement park, restaurant (local and international), theatre and conferencing facilities, movie zones, silhouettes (night clubs, discos, supermarkets).
The Digya park has alluring greenery, wide attractive landforms, a high presence of mammal species – elephants, manatees and six primate species, over 200 bird species, and also close to crossroads of a number of tourist routes in eastern and central Ghana.