Old endings…new beginnings

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Whew! Ahh!…now I can catch my breath! Another academic year comes to an end for me and I can now look back with smiles on an exciting year full of old endings and new beginnings. It has been a rather frantic dash to the finish line over the past days as I scurried to clear up my desk before setting off into the sun.

This has been my proper first year of being a full-time academic without the additional  trauma drama of being a PhD student at the same time. To keep up the nostalgia of student life and remain a professional student, I did sign up for a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education on a part-time basis starting in January, 2018 at my current institution. It has been a rewarding experience having the time to reflect on my teaching philosophy. I am now beginning to build up a repertoire of approaches, techniques and the necessary skill set to enhance my teaching and the learning experience of my students.

I have enjoyed the ups and downs that came my way this academic year. I have found both teaching and research to be fun (newbie syndrome?). The tricky bit I experienced was upon my return from paternity leave at the start of term 2 in February, 2018. The craze of catching up, looming marking deadlines and admin to sort out all left me feeling a bit dizzy. But this phase passed and I was able to get to a more regular rhythm of routines.

Gradually, I find myself growing, developing and ‘owning’ my new identity as a full time academic but sometimes it does feel a bit unreal and I have to pinch myself to say, ‘wake up mate!, the students are looking up to you to shape their learning and impact your “expert” knowledge’. Pinching myself is a way to deal with the impostor syndrome that tend to rear its head every now and then. I recently came across this post on Twitter which resonated well with me…….

Words and pronunciation

As a ferocious reader while growing up (full story on another day), I read anything that had text on it including discarded Robot Chewing gum wrappers on the street. Image result for robot chewing gum ghana

These wrappers came printed with insightful and funny Q&A such as – Q: Do fishes sleep? A: Yes, but with eyes open….ahhh full nostalgia coming on but I digress. Reading a lot while growing up has meant that I have picked up on the meaning of an awful lot of words (especially old fashioned English words) and the apt context to deploy these but often struggle with their pronunciation. The Twitter post got me thinking about how this particular word which is used a lot within Higher Education often tripped me out in the beginning. This word…

module

How on earth do you pronounce this word on first encounter if you didn’t grow up learning phonics (or perhaps not paying enough attention in English Language class). For a more mundane example, try pronouncing this one…

Burgoyne Road

In any case, it has been an excellent first year of academic life and one of the highlights has been that I got nominated by one (or more) of my students for the Sheffield Hallam University Inspirational Teaching Awards 2018 – Outstanding Student Support. This was a pleasantly unexpected surprise (a cliché but apt). The nomination came with the following student(s) comments about me….

Very real and helpful. Honestly, would get back to me very fast when I was stressed or just needed a few questions answering. Just a good example what every tutor should be like, so supportive. Unfortunately, not everyone is.

In research terms, this year has been productive so far. I had a paper published on “Tourism and national economic development planning in Ghana” and still have a couple of others currently going through the review process. I am also co-editing a special issue on “Sustainability in tourism policy and planning in Sub Saharan Africa”. This has been an enriching experience in learning about the mechanics of being an Editor-in-Chief of a journal (full story on another day). It does sometimes feel like a heavy responsibility being a gate-keeper – also when I am reviewing papers for other journals. Essentially, I am making decisions on the acceptance or rejection of someone’s hard work. I do take solace in the words of a senior colleague who explained that, “its ‘hazards’ of the job! Any academic afraid of ‘rejection’ is, I dare say, in the wrong profession!” So, I press on in providing reviews and recommendations to the best of my ability and judgement.

Throughout this academic year, I have come to realise even more strongly the importance of family support. I am most indebted to my dear wife Marre and our kids – Zoë, Joshua and Daniel – for their understanding, patience and support. It is an old ending of trying to fit you guys around work and a new beginning of fitting work around spending quality time with you. The wise words of my former Sociology Lecturer – the late Dr. Kojo Wireko-Brobbey (the Lord bless his soul) still echoes in my head. On many occasions in class, he would often say…

The success of work life can never compensate for the failure of home life

This is going to be my motto going forward into the next academic year as I rearrange work life to fit around family life. This is simply because the success of home life can always compensate for the failure of work life.

Now, we are off into the sun to relax, reconnect and recharge the batteries for what comes next. I can’t wait to dip my bare feet into the sand and sea while inhaling the serenity of this spot…

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The story of tourism in Ghana’s economic development plans since independence in 1957

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It has been 61 years since Ghana become an independent country. If it were to be a person, Ghana as a public service worker is now 1 year into compulsory retirement and living on pension. As ever, much of the debate around today’s Independence Day celebration will be around how much monthly pension our pensioner Ghana is receiving. Underlying this is whether Ghana made any significant investments and savings while it was in active service. There are many things to be proud of as an Independent Ghana but there are also a lot more to be done…starting with a confident re-imagination of the society we want and taking a sustained approach to achieving this. In this regard, perhaps it is time to consider the central role tourism (international, but especially domestic tourism) can play in re-imagining the beauty and potential in our land.

In my recently published research article *in the International Development Planning Review journal (see first page below), I trace the evolution of tourism within national economic development planning since independence. Tourism has consistently been identified as a viable option for national development although successive governments have taken different approaches to the sector. In this overview paper, I take a historical approach in showing the changes in the thinking around tourism’s role in economic development starting from the 7-year Development Plan for National Reconstruction and Development, 1934/64 – 1969/70 through to the most recent Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II, 2014-2017. I analyse how tourism came to be positioned as one of seven key economic pillars for transforming the national economy and identify some of the ongoing challenges facing the sector.

IDPR Paper first page

Not too long ago, I managed to get access to one of the first national socio-economic development plans developed in Ghana at the British Library in London. In this Second 5-year Development Plan of 1959-1964 tabled before Parliament by Kwame Nkrumah’s government, there was a full chapter dedicated to ‘The Tourist Industry’ (Chapter IV). In outlining the goal of the plan in his opening statement, the then President of the country stated that; “What is the basic objective of our Plan? It is simply this. We believe that it should show what we have to do – by our on hard work, by the use of natural resources, and by encouraging investment in Ghana – to give us a stand of living which will abolish disease, poverty, and illiteracy, give our people ample food and good housing, and let us advance confidently as a nation (pg. iii, emphasis mine). The development of tourism was seen as key to this vision. The drafters of the plan argued that;

“The possibilities for developing a tourist industry in Ghana are immense. The country has one of the best climates in West Africa. It is easily accessible, both by air and by sea, and is therefore a good stopping place for people ravelling to or from other parts of the West, Central and South Africa. Its scenery is varied, there are numerous historical monuments, and the traditions and ways of life of its people are a great attraction for visitors. Quite apart from external visitors to Ghana, it is important to provide tourist facilities for Ghanaian themselves. With the development of the country, and the spread of education, the number of Ghanaians able to take a vacation for a week or more is growing very rapidly, and Ghanaian tourists visiting different parts of the country will probably always exceed the number of visitors from abroad. Even if there were no external visitors it is desirable to encourage Ghanaians to travel around their country, and to provide facilities for them to do so” (Government of Ghana, Second 5-year Development Plan of 1959-1964; pg. 24-25)

As we celebrate 61 years of national independence, it is perhaps timely to revisit how tourism can help ignite and encourage the confident re-imagination of the society we want in Ghana, land of my birth.

 

*Do send me a message if you would like to but can’t get access to the full copy of the research article

10 years on from my first graduation…

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Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20)

Today, 28th June marks exactly 10 years since I walked across the podium of the Great Hall at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology graduating with a BA in Sociology and Social Work (First Class Honours). What a journey it has been over the past 10 years!?! Wildly beyond my thoughts and exceedingly above what I could ever have dreamt of at that time. I am so grateful and thankful to God for the manifold blessings beyond what I could ever have asked for.

So in a slide show picture essay, I want to celebrate my first decade after my first graduation with a look at all my other graduations since 2008. A big shout out to my family and friends for being there with me along the journey of many graduations…..especially to Marre, my special friend and dear wife.

May, 2008 (Republic Hall Annex, KNUST): After writing my last ever undergraduate exam paper, my roommates took me through the ritual of water pounding

 

 

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28th June, 2008 (Great Hall,Parade Grounds etc, KNUST): Graduation from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology – BA Sociology and Social Work (First Class Honours)

 

 

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25th January, 2011 (The Barbican Centre, London): Graduation from King’s College London – MSc Tourism, Environment and Development (Distinction)

 

 

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17th June, 2013 (IBEI, Barcelona): Graduation from both Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, Spain and International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands – MA International Development Policy (Higher Merit)

 

 

 

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17th July, 2017 – (Home and The Octagon, Sheffield): Graduation from University of Sheffield – PhD from Department of Urban Studies and Planning

 

 

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In the constant rush to get to the next big thing, and the next, and the next, we don’t often pause long enough to look behind at where we started from and trace our accomplishments to where we are at the moment. So now I choose to pause, to reflect and to bask in a wonderful decade of my academic journey. Sometimes I feel like being in a classroom (teaching or being taught) is all I have ever known since my parents first sent me to kindergarten. Being a student and an academic has been one of my most enduring identities and I easily find fulfilment through these identities.

 

Here is to another decade of academic fulfilment starting with this song……

 

 

 

Phuket…here I come (soon)!

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I am delighted to have been successful with my application and to have been invited to the Newton Funded Researcher Links Workshop on INCLUSIVE INNOVATION IN TOURISM. This Researcher Links Workshop is taking place in Phuket, Thailand at the end of August and…

…provides a unique opportunity for early career researchers from the UK, Thailand and internationally to share research expertise and network, exploring opportunities for building long-lasting collaborations related to inclusive innovations and new business models in tourism. During the workshops early career researchers will be expected to participate actively by leading or engaging in workshop paper sessions, discussion panels and interactive event activities.

The aim of the workshop is….

…to support international development-relevant research, contribute to capacity building of early career researchers,  and establish new research links or significantly develop existing links, with the potential for longer term sustainability in the area of inclusive innovation for enhanced local experience in tourism. 

The exciting part for me is that the British Council is covering the related cost of my participation at the workshop (travel, visa fees, accommodation and meals). It is a packed and intensive programme of learning and networking activities from Day 1 to Day 4.  but I am looking forward to making new connections. I will be presenting a paper on “Institutional thickness, inclusive innovation and tourism‐led local economic development planning”.

This being my first ever trip to continental Asia, it would have been nice to see more of this place. However, the workshop programme is too tight to meander and the length of stay too short to linger.

phuket

As I don’t really do bucket list stuff, I guess I am not going to be too disappointed to find out I ended up completing only 1 of the “18 best things to do in Phuket” – which is basically that I was there but holed up in a conference room for the whole time. For what it’s worth, it might leave a lingering desire to go back for a long family holiday.

Reflections on the PhD journey: an academic life story

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This is a short article I wrote (without the cartoons) for the University of Sheffield Doctoral Times Magazine. The final formatted version has been published and accessible from here  https://www.flipsnack.com/Tuostimes/doctoral-times-issue-17.html (Pg. 13)

 

academia

It was during my undergraduate days in Ghana that I developed the romantic idea of becoming an academic. At that time, I saw being academic as the career par excellence – you get to read and write at leisure, impact knowledge to impressionable undergraduates and weary postgraduates and have generally such great flexibility in terms of lifestyle. It was clear to me back then that completing a PhD was the most basic requirement so it was a dream come true when I was offered a University of Sheffield Faculty Scholarship to begin my PhD in September, 2013. Now when I look back on it, the PhD time was such a great and wonderful time of ‘unfettered’ freedom and flexibility. Sure there was the big thing about the thesis that wouldn’t get out of your head. However, it was also a time when you could decide to put your feet up for a few days or weeks just to relax, go to a conference, write a book chapter or a journal article or just simply read anything you want. I know this does not always apply to all people especially if you a STEM or Arts student with experiments to tend and or lab equipment to queue for. But even then I think there is much more room for some flexibility if one takes the view of enjoying the journey (as well as the destination called thesis).

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management at Sheffield Hallam University and I still consider my PhD days to have been more flexible. As a PhD student, I could technically start my working day at 10am or 1pm but now if there is a class to be taught or a seminar to be led at 9am, I just can’t postpone it. My point is that enjoy life as a PhD student in all its variegated complexities because it could just be one of the best times of your life. If you consider academia as your place, then use the PhD period to build up experience in teaching, publishing, organising conference, working in administration, applying for little grants and funds, networking etc. If the PhD process already leaves you disillusioned about academia then still build up experience that can help you transition to a career outside academia. Increasingly there are a number of resources being made available within the university to cater for those interested in the alt-academic (alternative academic) career paths – seek for these resources. Check out the Think Ahead blog which features a weekly blog from someone who made this alt-academic career move after their PhD.

I must be honest here and add that landing that elusive first academic position does not always come easy or depend entirely on having the experiences I just listed above. In my very short lived experience, I can say that it is a matter of timing and luck. Certainly, your experience in teaching, publishing etc. does count but when that is combined with being in the right place at the right time with the right vacancy open then the stars align. It can be frustrating sometimes because you cannot always force the stars to align. One can only do what is possible with gaining the right experiences. In the end a great deal of determination, perseverance and grit is needed while waiting for luck and time to align.

Irrespective of which stage of the PhD you find yourself, I would recommend the following books for you. I found them incredibly useful for my journey and I hope you do to:

  • Phillips, E., & Pugh, D. (2010). How to get a PhD: A handbook for students and their supervisors. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
  • Petre, M., & Rugg, G. (2010). The unwritten rules of PhD research. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
  • Dunleavy, P. (2003). Authoring a PhD: How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Kamler, B., & Thomson, P. (2014). Helping doctoral students write: Pedagogies for supervision. Routledge.

researchtrajectory

So is my romantic idea of an academic life holding up to scrutiny? Well, not quite yet – especially within the super time-stressed pressed higher education sector in the UK. I am building up the reality bit by bit and so there is still hope of dreams coming true. These things do take time so I am not giving up on the dream.

 

Call for Papers – Special Issue on Sustainability in tourism policy and planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: past, present and future

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Tourism Planning and Development Journal

Special Issue on

Sustainability in tourism policy and planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: past, present and future

 

Guest Editors

Dr. Emmanuel A. Adu-Ampong

Sheffield Hallam University, UK & University of Johannesburg, South Africa

e.adu-ampong@shu.ac.uk

&

Dr. Albert N. Kimbu

University of Surrey, UK

a.kimbu@surrey.ac.uk

 

Tourism (both domestic and international) is currently growing faster in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and in many other developing regions compared to the rest of the world. Though figures for domestic tourism in African countries are hard to come by, this is not the case with international arrivals. The UNWTO estimates that in absolute terms there were 58 million international tourist arrivals in SSA for the year ending 2016. There were 4 million more arrivals in 2016 compared to 2015 although this represented only 5% of all international arrivals around the world. In SSA tourism has long been seen as a powerful vehicle for achieving economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction (Holden and Novelli, 2011; Novelli, 2015). Achieving these goals requires the conceptualisation, realisation and implementation of appropriate policies and planning mechanisms. However, for most SSA countries, it has only been in the last two decades that the development of sustainable and achievable context specific policies and planning mechanisms has become the norm (Mbaiwa, 2005; Kimbu & Ngoasong, 2013; Jenkins, 2015; Backman and Munamura, 2017). Tourism policies and plans therefore need to reflect overall national development planning priorities and ambitions. It is through appropriate planning that the benefits and the costs of tourism development processes can be equitably distributed (Adu-Ampong, 2017). The arena of tourism policy and planning has expanded to include the state sector, the private sector, local communities and civil society organisations (Dredge and Jamal, 2015). It is important to consider how tourism policies and plans are being shaped through such interactions.

The growing influence of the tourism sector in SSA has resulted in a number of planning and policy shifts that need to be examined. This Special Issue on Sustainability in tourism policy and planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: past, present and future, therefore aims to open up a reassessment of the process of tourism policy and planning in SSA over the years. In particular we want to consider how the increasing focus on sustainability might shape future tourism planning and policy making.  The UNWTO has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development while the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have three of the seventeen goals making an explicit reference to tourism in goal 8: economic growth and employment, goal 12: sustainable consumption and production, and goal 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Thus the tourism sector is being called upon to explicitly integrate sustainability in its economic, social and environmental dimensions than has been done previously. We are therefore looking for papers that seek to interrogate the role of tourism policies, plans and practices in achieving sustainable development in SSA.

With this call, we are seeking, among other things, for a critical (re)examination of tourism policy and planning practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are looking for theoretical, conceptual and empirical research papers that explore one or more of the economic, social, cultural, political, organisational or environmental dimensions of the subject. In particular, we are interested in papers that interrogate the characteristics, past and present successes and challenges as well as the future implications of incorporating sustainability into tourism policy, planning and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In keeping with the aims and scope of Tourism Planning and Development, we welcome contributions from all disciplinary perspectives especially those of an inter-disciplinary nature. We encourage papers on all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as all forms of tourism, both mass and niche market.

Research on tourism policy, planning and development that are related to (but not limited to) the following topics are particularly welcome:

  • Sustainable tourism development and climate change
  • Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Indigenous tourism development and sustainability
  • Tourism, pro poor tourism and poverty reduction
  • Tourism and local economic development
  • Theoretical perspectives on tourism policy and planning
  • National park policies and plans
  • Community-based tourism and sustainable development
  • Ecotourism policies and plans
  • Tourism policy instruments for sustainability
  • Stakeholder involvement in tourism planning and development
  • Promoting domestic tourism
  • Human resource development and management in the tourism sector
  • Tourism governance
  • Crisis and disaster recovery policy and planning for tourism
  • Role of private sector in tourism planning and development
  • The role of NGOs in tourism policy, planning and development
  • Public-private partnerships for sustainable tourism development
  • Scalar and intersectoral policy and planning issues beyond local and regional interpretations of SDGs

 

Expressions of Interest:

Please submit an abstract (300-500 words) to Emmanuel A. Adu-Ampong (e.adu-ampong@shu.ac.uk) and Albert N. Kimbu (a.kimbu@surrey.ac.uk) outlining the following: a) Title of proposed paper, b) Contributing authors affiliations and contact details, and c) Summary of the proposed manuscript that outlines the purpose, contribution/ significance, and relevance to the special issue. Authors should ensure their submissions reflect the aim and scope of the journal. Abstracts will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received.

 

Key Dates:

Expressions of Interest: December 31, 2017

Deadline for Manuscript Submission: May 1, 2018

Reviews/Feedback on Manuscript Provided: August 1, 2018

Final Manuscript Due: December 1, 2018

The anticipated publication date is late/early 2019/2020. Papers will nonetheless be progressively made available online as soon as they have undergone the peer-review and have been accepted for publication.

 

Submissions:

Manuscripts can be theoretical or empirical in nature. Manuscripts will undergo a double-blind review. Submissions to Tourism Planning and Development are made using Scholar One Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rthp Papers must be formatted in accordance with Tourism Planning and Development style guidelines. To view the complete instructions for authors, please go to; http://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?journalCode=rthp21&page=instructions

 

Selected References

Adu-Ampong, E. A. (2017). Divided we stand: institutional collaboration in tourism planning and development in the Central Region of Ghana. Current Issues in Tourism 20(3): 295-314.

Backman, K.F. and Munamura, I. (2017). Ecotourism in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thirty Years of Practice, London: Routledge

Dredge, D., & Jamal, T. (2015). Progress in tourism planning and policy: A post-structural perspective on knowledge production. Tourism Management, 51: 285-297.

Holden, A., & Novelli, M. (2011). The Changing Paradigms of Tourism in International Development: Placing the Poor First—Trojan Horse or Real Hope? Tourism Planning and Development, 8(3): 233-235

Jenkins, C. L. (2015). Tourism policy and planning for developing countries: some critical issues. Tourism Recreation Research, 40(2): 144-156.

Kimbu, A.N. & Ngoasong, M.Z. (2013). Centralized decentralization of tourism development: A network perspective. Annals of Tourism Research, 40: 235-259.

Mbaiwa, J. E. (2005). The problems and prospects of sustainable tourism development in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 13(3): 203-227.

Novelli, M. (2015). Tourism and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Current Issue and Local Realities, London: Routledge

 

Exploring Alternative Income Sources for Illegal Miners in Ghana

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 gala

The menace of illegal mining in Ghana has been a bane for authorities recently. Illegal mining, popularly called ‘galamsey’ in Ghana, is a type of mining carried out with basic implement by mostly local people in search for gold or other minerals in the earth crust.  The proliferation of small scale illegal mining is creating heaps of problems for the whole nation, especially the water bodies and their various localities. ‘Galamsey’ brings with it, heavy toll on the individuals involved in the activity and the society as a whole. Individuals sustain various degrees of physical injuries and other respiratory diseases while the society suffers from pollution of water bodies and an increase in social vices around the mining town. There have been several calls from various quarters about how the community can assist in halting these nefarious activities but only a few have wondered unto how these miners would survive after their activities have been stopped. I raise this concern to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that the majority of youth in these mining areas is involved in this illegal act because they see it as their major source of income and are probably (or possibly) unwilling to end this illegal practice if they see it as their only means of survival. I have explored possible other forms of income generation activities that these miners could consider, to earn a living from their various localities.

Building and construction industry is a good avenue to absorb illegal miners in the country. The work of a miner is somewhat analogous to workers at a construction site and with little training they could work in companies involved in building private and commercial properties either in their localities or elsewhere. These miners could consider shifting their energy into assisting experts in the construction sector so they could earn decent and reliable income. Due to the nature of building and construction in the country, workers who are strong and resilient are likely to thrive in such field and I believe local miners could also be trained to take up leadership positions in such fields. Governments and multinationals company could assist by granting contracts to local contractors and also insisting that contractors involve local labour and experts in executing their contracts. This would greatly reduce the number of local labourers participating in ‘galamsey.’

Various groups leaders in illegal small scale mining teams could come together to form a quarry company to distribute stones and sand to building contractors and private developers. This type of business has proven to be lucrative for the youth who are into it. There are numerous sites located across the nation where legal permit could be obtained so they could start working. It could be argued that venturing into quarry business is capital intensive, but I must say that some of these mining techniques also involve an equivalent capital injection to yield similar return. So, instead of spending huge capital polluting our environment, it could be channelled to other activities that could assist in our nation building.

Cocoa-Pix

Agriculture is also a major area illegal miners could focus to obviate their need to degrade the environment. Agriculture activities, in both crops and animals earn considerable income in Ghana, and are a good venture for the youth with support from both government and the private sector. Instead of the youth degrading the environment they could turn around to assist mother earth in the form of crop farming. Growing, harvesting and selling of cash crops, like cocoa, shear nuts, coffee are all good areas that these illicit miners could venture into. Also, vegetable beds could be built along river banks to undertake vegetable farming. Alternatively, they could also go into fish farming using submersible nets on the rivers to produce fish for sale. This would force them to ensure the rivers are not polluted. Moreover, animal rearing is a good venture for the youth to channel their energy and skills into it. Poultry has contributed immensely to the bridging the gap in protein need for the country. Poultry generate both eggs and meat and their droppings could also be used as manure in crop production. There is excess demand for poultry and other meat products especially during festive seasons. Other non traditional agricultural venture like, mushroom farming, snail, rabbit and grass cutter rearing are all major income earning avenues for illegal miners in the country.

Manufacturing is another means to employ the youth currently engaging in illegal mining in the country. Majority of the activities in manufacturing companies might not need much specialization or skills; this makes it easier to gain employment in such companies most importantly if you have some soft sills. Also, many of the small scale processing of local produce does not require much capital to start. ‘Galamsey’ operators could channel their funds to purchase these machines to process agricultural produce at the local level. ‘Galamseyer’ operators can consult training institutions to assist them in training, so they could acquire skills in small scale manufacturing in the forms of soap making, shear butter processing, catering and baking. Undoubtedly, agro processing would be a great source of income for these illegal miners. This is because majority of the equipment and machines are basic and they can be manufactured and repaired locally. Aside their ease of use and locally sourced, most of the raw material used in the production are readily provided by local farmers at affordable prices and are available year round. Aside generating income for themselves, engaging in manufacturing could help add value to locally manufactured goods to reduce reliance on importation and even for export.

kakum-7

Mining sites could be converted to resort and tourist site to attract visitors to such areas. These would yield considerable income for the site/land owners instead of exploiting the land. Majority of the labourers could be picked and trained as tour guides and security personnel to guide and guard tourist who will visit the area. Aside from preserving the land, venturing into tourism could potentially force indigenous citizens to espouse their culture so they could sell it to others tourists, whether local or foreign.

The negative consequences of ‘Galamsey’ in the country is very glaring and the earlier we all assist to solve the problem the better for the nation in particular and the world as a whole. State and local governments should carve out models to assist youth in these mining areas to help them focus on alternative work avenue so they are not used to perpetrate the crime of illegal mining. Also local and international NGOs should assist the youth with counselling and skill training to make them employable. I believe in most cases there are push and pull factors that motivate or inhibit crime. Majority of our resources should not only be channelled into identifying only the negative effects but also portions should be dedicated to finding solutions to the problem and one of the solutions we could give to illegal mining is to offer alternative sources of livelihood for those involved.

This is a guest post from Nana Ameyaw-Addai (n.ameyawaddai@yahoo.com) The post has been previously published in the Goldstreet Business Newspaper on Friday 5th May, 2017.

Academic Christmas presents come early.

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Finally, the wait is over. Sometimes, good things come in multiples and in quick succession  🙂 After months, years of hard work of revise-resubmit, some fruits have began to appear in December. The past three weeks have seen some publications came to full light. Now they look like proper published articles with the right elements. There are free copies of the first two article available through the links.

Over two years after it was accepted and published online (in May, 2014), my first research article has been assigned a volume and issue number.

Adu-Ampong, E. A. (2017) Divided we stand: institutional collaboration in tourism planning and development in the Central Region of Ghana Current Issues in Tourism, 20(3): 295-314

Abstract

This research is an exploratory study that examines collaboration at the institutional level in the tourism sector of the Central Region, Ghana. The research begins with a review of the key issues related to collaboration in tourism planning and development followed by an extensive exploration of three main issues related to institutional collaboration in tourism in the Central Region. The three main issues are the vision of tourism development shared among stakeholders, collaboration and coordination within the public sector and between the public and private sectors and the factors that constrain and facilitate collaboration and coordination. Using extensive interviews with key stakeholders and reviewing policy documents, the research indicates low levels of collaboration between tourism institutions both within the public sector and across the public–private sectors. This is notwithstanding a shared awareness of the benefits of collaboration among all actors. The research thus contributes interesting insights into the politics of collaboration in tourism destinations. Given tourism’s contribution to the Ghanaian economy, it is imperative that efforts are made towards improving the levels of collaboration and coordination between tourism agencies and institutions.

This other research note has also been assigned a volume and issue number:

Adu-Ampong, E. A. (2017) State of the nation address and tourism priorities in Ghana—a contextual analysis Tourism Planning & Development, 14(1): 135-138

Abstract

Tourism development tends to be seen as a largely private sector driven activity. However, especially in developing countries the state continues to wield considerable power in the governance and policy arena of tourism. Thus the priority given to the tourism sector through state policies and the statements of government officials is considered as key in shaping tourism development. This paper offers a brief analysis of the level of priority given to the tourism sector in Ghana through a contextual analysis of the President’s yearly state of the nation address given between 2010 and 2014. The findings show that while overall national [tourism] development plans are important, the policy speeches of government officials provide a glimpse into the immediate policy concerns of the state regarding tourism development. In some instances there are inconsistencies between policy objectives in national development plans and government’s policy speeches. This research therefore highlights the importance of assessing policy speeches in addition to the analysis of existing tourism development plans.

Finally, a paper I wrote with a colleague of mine (Hanaw Amin) at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning also found its way into publication.

Amin, H. M.T.M and Adu-Ampong, E. A. (2016) Challenges to urban cultural heritage conservation and management in the historic centre of Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan-Iraq Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, 6(3): 255 – 270

So overall,  some early academic Christmas presents to be thankful for. Now, if only Santa can get me some marking elves to help with the assessment marking 🙂

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

(Ephesians 5:20)

Looking back on it, that evening of 7th March, 2013 opened a great door for me. On that evening, after over two years of searching, applications and interviews, I finally received an email stating that I have been offered a Faculty PhD Studentship Award. I could barely contain my excitement as I imagined the world of academic life awaiting me in Sheffield. As sleep eluded me, I got up around dawn to go running on the beach of Barcelona where I was living at that time, all the time thinking of how my dream of starting a PhD was becoming a reality. It was not long after accepting the offer from Sheffield that I was notified of another PhD Studentship award offer at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Torn between a choice of continued sunshine ‘down under’ and a cold wet South Yorkshire, I chose the latter and can now look back on what has been an incredible three years and counting. The many opportunities that have come my way at the University of Sheffield have made this a great academic journey. The culmination of all the ups and downs of my research apprenticeship is partly found in this thesis. For all that I have learnt and experienced as a student, I am most grateful first and foremost to God through Jesus Christ, of whom and through whom I have been blessed with the opportunity, perseverance and determination to successfully complete this research project.

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Mural painting inside School Boy Restaurant, adjacent Victoria Park, Cape Coast

This thesis would not have been possible without the help, encouragement and support of a number of people and institutions. Firstly, I will like to thank the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (née the Department of Town and Regional Planning) for providing me with an intellectual home even when on many occasions I was unsure of my belonging. I am also grateful to the University of Sheffield for the award of a three year Faculty of Social Sciences PhD studentship. In this regard, I am indebted to Steve Connelly for nominating me for the award and making a case on my behalf. I will also like to offer profound thanks to my supervisors Glyn Williams and Tom Goodfellow for giving me room to learn, develop and make mistakes. Thanks for reading through all the drafts of my chapters along the way and offering constructive and detailed feedback. I am grateful to the following senior academics who at various stages provided me with feedback and encouragement on aspects of my work through face to face meetings and over email – Bill Bramwell and the late Dorothea Meyer of Sheffield Hallam University, UK, Chris Rogerson of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, David Harrison of Middlesex University, UK, and Regina Scheyvens of Massey University, New Zealand.

Over the course of my research, I have had the opportunity to undertake a number of fieldwork visits, attend conferences and engage in research mobility programmes. In March, 2014, I founded the Tourism Research Network (TouRNet) which brings together staff and students with research interest in tourism across the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, and other affiliate universities. I am grateful to the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre for providing the seed funding to kick-start the network through which some of the ideas in this thesis were developed. I am grateful for funding from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning that supported a number of conference attendances and presentations. The Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) provided funding for a second fieldtrip to Ghana through its Research Enhancement Fund.  An award from the Santander Research Mobility Fund programme at the University of Sheffield funded a research visit to the Department of Geography and Resource Development at the University of Ghana. I also undertook a research visit to the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of Surrey through an award from the Sheffield Methods Institute Fund. An award from the World Universities Network Research Mobility Programme funded a 6 weeks research visit to the African Centre for Cities based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. All these research visits provided me with time and opportunity to think, analyse and write this thesis as well as to discuss my work with (senior) colleagues at these institutions.

I will like to acknowledge and extend special thanks to all the people who made time to be interviewed during the two periods of fieldwork in Ghana. This research would not have been possible without your assistance. In particular, I am grateful to Dr. Annah Prah at the University of Cape Coast, Mr. Justice Amoah who is now a Coordinating Director at the Wa Municipal Assembly, and Mr. Ebenezer Ebo Dadzie, a proud citizen of Elmina, based at the desk of the National Commission on Civic Education in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipal Assembly.  I am also indebted to my dear friend George Nana Addo Ofori-Atta for hosting me during my stays in Accra and for our ongoing discussion and debates about governance, politics and national development in Ghana. My thanks go out to my mates and friends in Dunkwa-On-Offin, Kumasi, Accra, Cape Coast and Elmina for making each fieldwork visit feel more like a homecoming. Special mention goes out to ‘Organa Fadas’ Ben and R. Nico for all the visits to the Fufu joint, to Kaku Ackah and ‘Burgga’ Ankomah for the jokes and reminiscing each time I get to Kumasi and Dunkwa-On-Offin, and to Martin ‘Alaska’ in Elmina for the fun times. Enrique Wedgewood Young, a man of the world and whose last known location was in a stately home in Edinburgh deserves a mention for help with proofreading.  To the many others who kept asking about the progress of the PhD, I say thanks!

Last but certainly not the least, I wish to acknowledge and thank my ever-supportive family. I am grateful to my parents, A.B. Gyedu and Cece Akua for all the investment in my education. I look forward to being able to tell my mum that I am no longer a student. My deepest gratitude and thanks go to Marre Adu-Ampong, my dear wife without whom this thesis could not have been produced. Thank you for your patience, sacrifice and strength in being a ‘single mother’ for Zoë and Joshua for long stretches of time while I got lost in this research project. I dedicated this thesis to you, Zoë, and Joshua. Maybe one day we can all read through the thesis as a family bedtime story!

Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong

Sheffield

1st December, 2016

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What is the summary of your PhD thesis?

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As I edge ever closer to the submission date of my PhD thesis, I can now relax a bit. I can afford to look back on a bizarre incidence that happened to me on Thursday 29 September, 2016. I had a scheduled meeting with my supervisor in the late afternoon but I decided to go in early to the department to get some printing done and also catch up with colleagues. I had sent my draft thesis to my supervisors about 3 weeks prior to the meeting. I felt so exhilarated after sending in the draft that I couldn’t bear to think of the thesis anymore. It felt good to keep my distance. To put some space between myself and the thesis that had intensively occupied my every waking moment over the summer when I was in Cape Town. Furthermore, I was occupied with all that comes with settling into my new role as a Lecturer in Tourism Management at the University of Lincoln. I switched focus from my thesis (and forgot all about it) to getting to grips with the admin and finalising module handouts and preparing lesson plans for lectures and seminars. This was my state of mind on that date as I went to my Department of Urban Studies and Planning to prep for my supervisory meeting. On that day I was not in a position to provide a coherent answer to the question of what my thesis was all about – even to myself. If it was a 3MT (3 Minutes Thesis) competition, I would have flopped. I could only come up with fluffy convoluted response.

When I got to my department in the early afternoon, I kept up my old habit of checking out the book shelf in front of the departmental office to see what new and interesting notices, magazines and general university-related info sheets were available. True to form, there were copies of the new summer 2016 edition of the Research Newsletter of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. I picked up one of those and went to the my desk in the Postgraduate Research Room to sit and have a read through. It was then that I realised that I had been featured in the Newsletter with the title – “Tourism and Planning in Ghana – Emmanuel Adu-Ampong tells us about his PhD research in Ghana”. I was pleasantly surprised and was greatly impressed with the succinct summary provided of my research. I had no recollection (at that moment!) of having written any of that. Neither did I remember of granting an interview. The words on the page describing my research were so polished and far removed from the incoherent ideas swirling in my mind at that moment. I wondered whether perhaps someone had made that summary based on drafts of my thesis that I sent to my supervisors. I even showed it to my supervisor and the Director of Doctoral Studies in the department and asked them if they knew anything about it. They couldn’t tell me much.It was rather puzzling that I got to be featured in the Newsletter while having no remembrance of having written the words.

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The feature in the Newsletter

After getting home, I informed my dear wife  who was of the view that I should get to the bottom of this mystery and find out exactly how this came about. But, there so much going on with teaching and revising my PhD thesis based on the feedback from my supervisor. I did not have the space in my head to bother about the mysterious summary. After all, I thought to myself, there is no harm in having this summary that looks impressive. It was about a week later that I suddenly had an eureka moment. It was one evening at home while I was rearranging my desk that the light bulb went on in my head. As I moved old papers aside, I sighted the green cover of the Newsletter. At that moment, it dawned on me! I had the clarity that had eluded me a week earlier. It became clear that I had indeed written that summary myself. I checked out my email to be doubly certain and sure enough, the evidence was there. It was the PR and Marketing administrator at the departmental office who sent me an email in early May saying he wanted to feature my research in the Newsletter. He asked if I could write a short policy-focused summary of my research which I indeed did. I realised that I had actually written the summary while I was on a research visit to the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of Surrey between end-May and early-June, 2016. The question is: how could I have forgotten about this? Why did I not recognise my own writing of just over four months old? It was both funny and troubling when I had that eureka moment.

The main reason I could come up with was that my brains were toasted from the teaching at Lincoln in addition to the distance I gave myself away from the PhD. It felt like I have been so consumed with detailed work on specific aspects of the thesis and that I have just lost the big picture. It was pretty hard for me to carve out mental space to think of the thesis as a whole without the intrusion of thoughts  of what still needed done for the next lecture, the next seminar or the student email I had to respond to. I am now a bit better at segmenting brain space so that I can concentrate on the thesis work on certain days and at certain times and then fully focusing on my lectureship duties for the rest of the time. At this moment, I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to 1st December, 2016!