The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has commenced work to improve the state of the Pikworo Slave Camp at Nania, in the Kassena Nankana West District in the Upper East Region.
The GH¢1million project, which is expected to be completed within five months, includes the construction of an imposing frontage, landscaping of the camp, fencing of the entire site, mounting of signage, construction of washrooms, walling of captives’ graveyard and the construction of tombs.
The first phase of the project which had been completed involved the construction of a receptive centre where tourists and visitors to the facility would be received.
It is being funded through the Tourism Development Fund.
At a ceremony to hand over the site to one of the contractors last Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GTA, Akwasi Agyeman, said the project formed part of an agenda to transform tourist sites where captives were taken through before being shipped out of the country.
He said the story of the slave trade, though unfortunate, needed to be preserved, hence, the decision to properly develop such sites.
Mr Agyeman said: “The focus of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and GTA is to preserve such sites to tell a better story of what actually transpired so that history would not be lost”.
“Since the entire slave trade began from the Pikworo Slave Camp, we have decided to fully develop it to portray a clearer understanding of what transpired to tourists and patrons of the facility,” he said.
Also, Mr Agyeman said similar projects were being carried out at the Salaga Slave Market and slave wells, as well as the introduction of sculpture pieces to bring those facilities to an appreciable level to attract more tourists.
“It is about making sure that during the celebration of the Pan African Festival (PANAFEST) and Emancipation Day celebrations, the slave route tour is appropriately done to ensure patrons have a better insight into what happened,” he said.
Mr Agyeman, however, said that the project would be carried out gradually as and when funds were available, adding “as an authority, we do not intend to tackle many projects at the same time that we cannot ensure their completion within the next five years”.
The Upper East Regional Director of GTA, Wisdom Ahadzi, said tourism was all about what attracted people and gave them the reason to travel from a long distance to a site.
He expressed optimism that after the project had been completed, more tourists would visit the site regularly to boost the local economy.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, Gerard Ataogye, in an interview, expressed appreciation to the sector Minister, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, for redeeming his promise to develop the site during an official visit to the district in 2021.
The Pikworo Slave Camp was founded in 1704 as a transit point where slaves were auctioned and later resold in the Salaga Slave Market.
The camp is endowed with trees and rocks where the slaves were tethered.