In February this year, just before COVID-19 struck, we travelled twice to the town of Bompata in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Our amazingly well connected Ghanaian network had managed to facilitate a meeting between Global River Center A/S and the leader of this town, a man who was formerly Ghana’s UN ambassador and someone who continues to hold significant influence in the upper echelons of Ghanaian political and civic circles, the Paramount Chief of Bompata, Nana Effah-Apengteng.
Nana Effah-Apentengs role as Paramount Chief is also known as Bompatahene or King, and is a senior position in Ghana’s Chieftain Hierarchy and in his case specific to the Akan peoples traditional ruling structures. These traditionally originated positions remain fundamental leadership roles in contemporary Ghanaian society and exist alongside the democratic structure of the country.
Our great fortune of receiving this face-to-face meeting with such an influential leader, especially when considered in the context of today’s locked-down world, was such a blessing.
Nana and his entourage gracefully received us and the ideas we put forth were met with enthusiasm and most importantly, a deep understanding of their vitality for towns like Bompata.
and why it, and similar towns, needs River Centers.
Bompata is a semi-rural town in Southern Ghana.
On an anecdotal level, the town is probably best known for being the birthplace of the late Ghanaian diplomat and celebrated statesman, UN Secretary-General and Nobel Prize winner, Kofi Annan.
Bompatas primary industry is agriculture and it has a population of 7,500 people in the immediate vicinity and a wider catchment area with a population of 100,000.
To put it in perspective for our Scandinavian readers, this is roughly around the same population as Frederiksberg Municipality in Denmark.
But unlike its Danish counterpart, Bompata is not rich with the amenities and services that ensure the youth of the locality have fun, learn skills, find meaningful employment and maintain a decent quality of life.
The range of educational, social and civic services in Bompata is limited and as is the case with many towns of similar size throughout Africa, the services that do exist are underfunded and often ill-equipped to effectively serve the needs and sustain the local community. The knock-on effect is that job creation and job opportunities suffer and as a consequence much of the young population follow the trends of their peers across the continent, migrating to urban areas in search of a better life.
Global River Centers central mission aims to support towns like Bompata to provide for their young people’s needs. By providing new attractive opportunities we hope to deter youth migration and as a long-term outcome, stimulate the local communities development and economic growth. Our River Centers will bring together tools, services and facilities and use these to create the environment in which young people can learn future-secured skills, nurture their creativity, connect with the world and thereby enhance the quality of life in these areas.
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