Available Information indicates that the Accra International Conference Center (AICC) which is the toast venue for many International Conferences in the West African sub-region, may no longer be fit for purpose following years of neglect and lack of maintenance.
The 6,000 seater capacity conference center strategically situated in the heart of the capital of Ghana, with ready access to the country’s main airport and first class hotels has developed serious structural defects needing immediate attention to avert any humanitarian disaster in the immediate future.
Observing the building from outside, located on the Christianborg area in Accra, in the midst of very important locations such as the Parliament of Ghana, the Accra Sports Stadium, the Black Star Square and the yet to be constructed National Cathedral, one would not notice the precarious condition of this iconic edifice.
However, a working visit to the premises of the International Conference Center by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of Parliament on Wednesday, June 03, 2020 and an observation of the basement of the building revealed that the main pillars which support the building have been eating away for lack of proper maintenance over the years and these years of neglect has affected its structural integrity.
It was observed that almost all the concrete pillars at the basement beneath the main building which are the main props of the building were almost gone from many years of wear and tear but the authorities have caused to be erected an improvised pillar to support the building in the meantime.
The mortar on the pillars were peeling away without any provocation, exposing the iron rods in the emaciated concrete pillars rusted and warn out.
According to the Structural Engineer attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was in the company of the Committee on Foreign Affairs led by its Chairman, Yaw Annor Dompreh and Ranking Member, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the building has been badly exposed and it was in a precarious condition.
Engineer Mike Addo indicated that any serious lateral force impact in the area, could collapse the whole building since the major pillars of the Conference Center have been compromised.
He explained that the mortar on the pillars have been eating away and peeling off because the initial contractors and subsequent Engineers and caretakers failed to properly deal with a pool of water underneath the building which has combined with atmospheric pressure to cause a gradual decay of the mortar over the years.
It is obvious that the building which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration under the leadership of Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, will need an immediate attention.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament is yet to bring the issue to the attention of the Minister and subsequently prepare its report for the consumption of the entire membership of Parliament for the appropriate actions to be taken.
The Accra International Conference Centre has hosted major conferences and summits since it was built in 1991 to host the Tenth Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. It has also been the host for major conferences and summits held by U.N. organisations, such as the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, as well as regional organisations such as ECOWAS.
Source: Clement Akoloh