Thursday, October 7, 2010

Conservation and the oil find

Photo courtesy of:
The opportunity to be independent economically and to diversify ones streams of funding is crucial and cannot be overemphasised. Ghana’s economy has long leaned on the hinges of minerals mining, cocoa agri-business and revenue collection which in themselves seem to reach their elastic limits in supporting the unending needs of the country. It is thus a welcome relief knowing that another stream of finance is coming the way of the nation to create jobs and cushion national budget in the uncertain times ahead.

Discovery of oil and gas took place in the Western Region of Ghana the main hub of what is left of the country’s pristine forests. Good as it sounds it also presents us with more challenges than we can relax about. Among these are inevitable altering of some parts of the western coastline including the expansion of settlements and growth in businesses, upgrading of the Takoradi Port and associated services, plus an upsurge in intra-national and international production, processing and consumer oriented institutions.

The pressing questions here are how much effort has ‘the Ghanaian’ conservationists invested in accessing environmental impact assessment reports? Are we in anyway being able to monitor the successes of the oil find or are those considered as off-reserve issues? Are conservationists participating in the pre-production dialogue in addressing all possible issues or has it been left to the affected communities. What is perceived as the problem with such communities is in the lack of money, of knowledge and exposure, including lack of foresight, absence of clear paperwork and intellectualism and promotion of, individualism.
Photo courtesy of The New York Times
The point is that there is so much that are yet to be discovered from the Western Region of Ghana. We should, as a nation start taking stock of what we have there and contribute to issues in the planning and management of the oil and gas resources. – News Team

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