Africa: Ghana’s Tourism Minister Hon. Catherine Afeku wins BALAFON Tourism Minister in West Africa

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Honourable Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Ghana has emerged Tourism Minister of the Year in West Africa.  This is coming as the organizers of the BALAFON West African Travel and Tourism Awards, www.ATQNews.com, announced winners of the awards for 2018 edition.
Www.ATQNews.com is today rated as the biggest travel news website in Africa. ATQ News is the abbreviation for African Travel Quarterly (ATQ), the first Travel magazine in West Africa which has developed multiple media platforms over the last two decades which are www.atqnews.com, the online platform and Travellers Magazine, the offline publication.
Balafon Awards of Excellence is an annual awards organized to recognize Pioneers and best players in the travel and tourism industry for the ECOWAS region. The winners are selected via a select polls among Practitioners and ratified by a board made of Specialist in Media.
This award recognizes you as the Tourism Minister of the Year in West Africa 2018 for your outstanding efforts in growing the tourism industry in Ghana and that through your efforts in international marketing, Ghana’s tourism is gaining traction and thriving in carrying the message of the beautiful tourism assets of your country to West Africa and Africa; Ghana’s presence in major travel fairs across the world remains a strategic move not only towards achieving your country’s tour.
Honourable Catherine Abelema Afeku was born at Axim in the Western Region. She obtained a Master of Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management of Devry University in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 2008. Hon. Catherine Afeku is married to Mr. Seth Afeku with whom she has three children. She is a Christian and a Catholic.
Hon. Catherine Afeku has worked with the World Bank and Sitico Petroleum in Kenya, where she served as a Business Development Consultant. She was also employed at the Inlingua School of languages in Brescia, Italy. In the early 2000s she became a Government of Ghana spokesperson for infrastructure under the John Agyekum Kufour administration.
Hon. Catherine Afeku entered Ghanaian politics in the early 2000s during the presidency of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor. She was the Government’s Spokesperson for Infrastructure. She contested again in the 2008 general election for the Evalue Gwira constituency.
She defeated the incumbent, Kojo Armah of the Convention People’s Party. In the 5th parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana, she served as a member first of the Road and Transport Committee and then as a Deputy Ranking member of the Communications Committee. She later became a member of the Business Committee of Parliament. She lost her re-election bid for parliament in the 2008 general election.
Hon. Catherine Afeku again contested the constituency’s seat during the 2016 Parliamentary election where she defeated the incumbent, Kweku Tanikyi Kessie of the National Democratic Congress, to obtained to obtained 14,002 votes out of the 20,179 which represented 52.26% of total votes cast.
In January 2017, His Excellency, Akuffo-Addo, the President of Ghana, nominated her for the position of Minister for Tourism. She introduced the policy of “See, Eat, Feel and Wear Ghana” Campaign in the promotion of domestic tourism and Ghanaian made products.
Hon. Catherine Afeku kick started the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project commenced in the  year after the  commissioning  by H.E. the President on 15th December, 2017.
This project covers an area covering 241 acres of land stretching from the Christiansborg Castle to the Arts Centre. The Project is expected to transform the beach front into a leisure and business tourism enclave and would create over 36,000 local jobs during construction and over 150,000 on completion whilst increasing the sector’s contribution to GDP and establish Ghana as the premier tourism destination in West Africa.
Hon. Catherine Afeku’s tenure has seen the rehabilitation and commissioning of the Kintampo Waterfalls  and, safety and security measures put in place to safeguard tourists who visit the site.
The Ministry and its implementing Agencies have appointed Thirty (30) Ambassadors, out of the expected Fifty (50) to champion the promotion of Ghanaian products on their international and local platforms.
In order to sustain the interest of students in drama and the theatre arts, the National Commission on Culture organised Ten (10) SHS Drama Festivals and cultural exchange programmes amongst selected schools.
The Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) is working on the establishment of the Presidential Museum at the Christiansborg Castle.  This project was launched by His Excellency the President on 5th March 2017.
Paa Grant’s Grave at Axim has been rehabilitated and commissioned by the President on 8th August, 2017 as part of our efforts to conserve our historical heritage.
The Ministry and Agencies hosted the Queen of Denmark, Margareth II at the Christianborg Castle from 23rd November to 25th November, 2017 to promote Ghana’s historical and cultural heritage.
Among several other noteworthy efforts, the Ministry of Tourism under Hon. Catherine has achieved several other milestones as she led the pursuance of the agenda to promote the consumption of locally produced goods and services by tourism, arts and culture industry, the Ministry has started a wide range of media networks including the Cable News Network (CNN) and the print and electronic media in Ghana. This effort is geared towards advocating a policy directive that will ensure the wearing of Ghanaian clothing daily, consumption of local foods at all State events and in public offices, and visits to tourists attraction sites by all public officials and the general public.
The Ministry and its stakeholders participated in eight (8) top international Fairs & Exhibitions.  These included Vakantiebeurs in Holland, MATKA in Finland, COTTM in China, FITUR in Spain, ITB in Germany, Party in the Park in UK, GHANAFest in the USA and World Travel Market in the UK. This is by far the highest international effort at promoting a country’s tourism assets in West Africa
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