King Norbert | Voltaonlinegh.com |
There was once a small fishing community in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The Bani Yas tribe settled at the mouth of this sea after they broke their ties with Sheikh Tahnun bin Shakhbut of Abu Dhabi.
As around 1822, the community dwellers were less than 800 and their preoccupation was to go on sea harvest fishes to feed their homes.
At these early beginnings, this community and its people never shown any sign of wealth and riches, and no one could believe that such a small village would one day be the center of the world commerce and tourism. But an Arabic proverb that says “they came with a lot of money” manifested in “Daba Dubai” after they were blessed with an oil discovery.
It is a beautiful story of the City Dubai.
Tourism became an important part of the Dubai’s economy with a growing flow of foreign cash into the emirates. As of 2018, Dubai became the fourth most-visited city in the world based on the number of international visitors that troop the peninsula regularly. The city is described as the shopping capital of the Middle East and has capacity of hosting over 15 million visitors overnight.
The story of Dubai could be similar to the fishing community of Keta. The community is a stretch of land between the Gulf of Guinea and the lagoon. The lagoon supports subsistence and commercial fisheries and salt mining for local communities. The climate also supports mangrove forests that stretched to the estuary at Anyanui. At Anyanui, the River Volta flows into the Gulf of Guinea. Keta can boast of being one of the cleanest coastlines in the sub region. It is a beautiful sight to behold capturing an eye-view of a community lying among three major water bodies.
History narrates stories of how the people fled from a tyrant King in Notsie-Togo to settle on the peninsula whose name, ‘Keta’ literary means “on the sand”.
The Keta enclave presents potentials for tourism growth and economic development. The history and topography of the land and people is similar to the Emirate’s pride of Dubai. What would soon make the two places share a lot more in common is the discovery of large quantity of oil in the Voltain Basin.
The Swiss African Oil Company was awarded a contract for seismic exploration in the Volta Basin in 2016. Although residents are expressing concerns over the environmental sustainability of such activities, broader stakeholder engagements and use of environmentally friendly methods could help in ensuring Keta fully and safely benefits from the blessings of hydrocarbons.
Photos (C) Fred Duhoe
Already, the hospitality industry in the area seem booming with a lot of investments laying on the ‘sand’. But the threat to this dream is the sea erosion. Climate change is contributing to rising of the sea level rise, coastal flooding and erosion, and it is swallowing the land.
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, the narrow strip of land between the lagoon and the gulf is eroding dangerously two (2) meters per year.
Can we see successive governments’ commitment to recovering the lost lands? Is there any long term plans of harnessing the full potentials of Keta?
Can we have Keta-Dubai or Dubai-Keta in Ghana?