How Ghana spent £3 million in 1959 to build a new runway for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth

The newly independent Ghana was even more keen to set up for Queen Elizabeth II’s scheduled visit because it had only achieved independence a little over two years earlier.

How Ghana spent £3 million in 1959 to build a new runway for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth
How Ghana spent £3 million in 1959 to build a new runway for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth

When the queen was anticipated in Ghana in November 1959, preparations for her arrival got under way in earnest as if to demonstrate the bold claim made by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the nation’s first president, that “the African is capable of regulating his own affairs.”

The administration of Nkrumah promptly set aside some substantial money to clean the runway at the Accra Airport after realising that she would enter the nation through its primary airport (now Kotoka International Airport).

A vintage Ghana Times newspaper clipping with the headline “Queen’s aircraft may land on new runway” included this information.

According to the de-Graft Sampson account from April 1959, the government was determined to make sure that the airport runway was in good condition so that it could host the monarch of the nation that had served as its colonial master until two years earlier.

The restoration of Accra International Airport, which is anticipated to take roughly 15 months to complete, is one of the largest projects that the Ghana National Construction Company will embark on under the second Five-Year Development Plan.

According to Mr. M. Boren, the G.N.C.C.’s sole consultant engineers and contractors, “the extension work for which Government has made available the sum of £G3 million, would be carried out in two stages,” the report noted.

The report went on to say that the airport’s runway would need to be upgraded as part of the project’s initial phase of expansion.

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Prior to Queen Elizabeth II’s visit later that year, this was to be completed.

It continued, “Mr. Boren further informed me that the new runway, taxiways, and approach roads are anticipated to be finished prior to the Queen’s visit in November of this year.

According to the study, the extension of air travel services to some other parts of the nation was the focus of the project’s second phase, which would allow those areas to “directly profit from Ghana’s internal air service.”

Read the full newspaper report in the photo clipping below:

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