There is a stronger economic case for building an airport in Cape Coast, the regional capital of the Central Region, than there was for building the Ho Airport, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said.
“In fact, there is more of a case for an airport in Cape Coast than there was for an airport in Ho”, Dr Bawumia told Kwami Sefa Kayi on Accra-based Peace FM’s morning show Kokrokoo on Tuesday, 25 August 2020.
“There is more of a case for it but I didn’t see a lot of resistance to the airport in Ho as I’m seeing to the airport in Cape Coast, but in terms of the tourism potential, Cape Coast is bigger”, Dr Bawumia insisted, adding: “Fine, it’s good that we have an airport in Ho, that’s fine, but I’m just saying that the case, the economic case is stronger in Cape Coast; much much stronger”.
Dr Bawumia made the comment while addressing the opposition raise by some critics to the governing New Patriotic Party’s 2020 manifesto promise to build an airport for Cape Coast.
The Vice President argued that: “Cape Coast is the tourism capital of Ghana”.
“There’s no other place that attracts as many tourists as Cape Coast”, he said.
“You talk about education and today Cape Coast is the education capital of Ghana.
“So, the amount of traffic, in terms of people that go to Cape Coast, is quite significant and, so, if you are looking at trying to put in place infrastructure to boost the economy of Cape Coast, you have to look at it long term and the tourism industry is one that really is important”, he argued.
Dr Bawumia pointed out that “tourists like convenience: So, I can fly into a place, I don’t have to come in and be on a three-hour journey on a bus to get to the place. So, the airport will provide a lot of convenience for tourists who are coming in”.
He asserted: “It will help a lot and it will also boost other industries in and around Cape Coast, so, I think that the whole idea of boosting the place, you look at Accra-Kumasi, the Cape Coast-Takoradi area, that triangle that we are talking about, that area has probably 60 per cent of the population of Ghana”.
Asked if he did not think roads were a priority for the area than an airport, Dr Bawumia responded: “You need not only the roads but you also need rail. The way that we are thinking about the whole thing, you need major transportation infrastructure – trains are there, the roads are there and the airports are there”.
Pushed by Kwame Sefa Kayi as to whether dualising the roads would not provide the same economic effect being envisaged by government with the building of an airport in Cape Coast, Dr Bawumia said: “We’re doing all sorts of roads, there’s no reason why you can’t work on the two at the same time”.
“There really is no reason”, he stressed, explaining: “Because the road, as I say, is got to be part of the plan because you don’t want to have an airport which then is difficult to get to and all of that. So, the road and the rail, you have to think long term”.
“We are thinking rail, we’re thinking roads but that is going to be on the basis of that infrastructure. It will boost the economy of the Central Region, really boost it and you know this is the fourth-poorest region in Ghana”, Dr Bawumia noted.
In his estimation, “the airport will boost the region in terms of economic growth because there will be more people coming in”.
He noted: “There are many people who will like to go to Cape Coast but may be thinking about how inconvenient it is; travelers from abroad and all of that. You provide the infrastructure, not only for Cape Coast but between Cape Coast and Kumasi, Cape Coast and Accra, Cape Coast and Takoradi and all of that then you are boosting economic activity in the area”.
Dr Bawumia admitted that the idea of building an airport in Cape Coast “is not new” but denied claims that it was a vote-buying gimmick.
“No, no”, he said, emphasising: “That cannot be the case”.
“So many things have been going on for more than 20 years in Ghana but the time has come for us to put that as a key policy to undertake, key piece of infrastructure. Of course, you’re going to try to get this done on a BOT basis, if possible, so that the government is not really expending a lot of money in that direction and, so, it is an idea whose time has come and I believe that the people of the Central Region, deserve an airport”, the Vice President noted.