The 2015/2016 cohort of MA Development Studies, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, ISSER, has embarked on a study tour of the Western region.
Led by the Coordinator of MA/MPhil Programmes at ISSER, Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo, the 4-day tour began on 31st May to 3rd June, 2016.
It aimed at giving exposure and appreciation of practical development challenges and opportunities in the region and aid contextualization of theory and practice.
The tour took them to the Western Regional Coordinating Council, WRCC, Ellembelle District Assembly, Adamus Resources Limited, Atuobo Gas Processing Plant and Anokyi Town. While visiting the aforementioned places on different days within the tour duration, the team lodged at the splendid Busua Beach Hotel.
Following in sequence, the team first visited WRCC where the students met Hon. Alfred Ekow Gyan, Deputy Regional Minister and other Heads/Directors of Departments.
Hon. Gyan gave an insightful presentation; enumerating numerous investment opportunities available in the region in varied mineral resources such as clay, limestone, glass, salt, silica, kaolin, etc.
He touched on challenges facing the region which includes decline in fish harvest, increase in crime rate, illegal mining and chain-saw operations and high rent charges for accommodation.
At Ellembele District Assembly, the study team met Hon. Daniel K. Eshun, District Chief Executive, Mr. Innocent Marcus Haligah, District Coordinating Director and heads of departments.
Hon. Eshun was excited about the team’s visit since it was the maiden visit of such a group to the Assembly.
Giving an overview of the district, the District Coordinating Director highlighted its resource endowment to include gold, rubber, coconut, kaolin, silica, etc.
The district, which is in its eighth year, is faced with the challenge of lack of requisite expertise and knowledge to transform its untapped resources into wealth.
He was concerned about cultural change being experienced as a result of the oil find, increase in rent and land prices and reduction in agricultural activities.
The next point of call was Adamus Resources Limited, a mining company operating in the Ellembelle District. Here, the study team met Mr. Ibrahim Halilu Mohammed, Mines Manager, Mr. Kofi Edusei, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, and other personnel.
It is the only mining company along the coast of Ghana since 2010.
Mr. Edusei shed light on the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities especially, investment in education, health, water and sanitation and road construction and resettlement houses.
He mentioned some challenges to include unrealistic demands from communities, illegal mining activities within the concession area and decline in prices of gold. There was a presentation followed by question and answer session and a guided tour of the mining pit.
The team visited Atuobo Gas Processing Plant and met Mr. Wise Wunakie, Supervisor, Main Plant Operations, and Mr. Chief Engineer, Main Plant Site.
An insightful presentation of the technical and socio-economic dimensions of the gas facility was made, followed by question and answer session as well as a guided tour of the facility.
From the Atuobo Gas Processing Plant site, the team also stopped over at Anokyi community, to interact with opinion leaders on the benefits and challenges of the gas facility.
Intervening between the various site visits was sightseeing of important historical places.
At Ellembelle District, the team visited the original Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and his birth place at Nkroful,where the undocumented accounts surrounding his birth and the miracles that took place both at home and in the River Nkrumah during his infancy were recounted.
Whiles returning to Accra, the study team visited Cape Coast Castle where they were given a vivid account of how the slave trade was organised and the treatment meted out to slaves before embarking on a journey never to return.
Comments of students are captured as follows:
“The study tour was very educative and it really enlightened me further on the dynamics of corporate social responsibility among corporate entities” (Francis Arthur, Student, 2015/2016 MA Development Studies).
“The tour was well organized, educative and without any hitches” (Segbefia, Student, 2015/2016 MA Development Studies).
“The study tour was educative and interesting” (Anthony, Student, 2015/2016 MA Development Studies)
“The tour was wow! It gave me the opportunity to visit wonderful historic sites I would perhaps not have visitedt, particularly, the Kwame Nkrumah River and Family House as well as Adamus Resources Ltd. In fact, we should have visited these places before writing the long essay” (Kotoku, Student, 2015/2016 MA Development Studies).
“The study tour was packed, very insightful, and I learnt a lot while having fun. I sympathize with communities living around Atuabo Gas Processing Plant. In my mind, I was comparing Adamus Mining Company to Atuabo Gas Processing Plant and the way they have managed communities, which have been affected by their operations” (Jeff, Student, 2015/2016 MA Development Studies).
“The study tour was very educative, amidst all the fun we had. It was significant to know that the availability of developmental resource like Ghana Gas can actually perpetuate poverty in the community in which it is sited. The tour also served as a platform to acquire a firsthand knowledge of the economic benefits of the operations of Ghana Gas company to the country” (Vicentia, Student, 2015/2016 MA Development Studies).