March 29, 2023
Kwame Nkrumah and Queen Elizabeth II shared a moment on the dancefloor during her visit

As a nation that had only become independent a little over two years before, the new Ghana was even more eager to put things in place for the scheduled arrival of the monarch of Britain, Queen Elizabeth II.

The queen was expected in Ghana in November 1959, and as though to prove the point that was boldly stated by the country’s first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, that the ‘African is capable of managing his own affairs,’ works begun in earnest for her arrival.

And seeing that she was to arrive in the country via its main airport, the government of Nkrumah immediately set aside some good money to tidy up the runway at the Accra Airport (now Kotoka International Airport).

This was contained in an old Ghana Times newspaper clipping in GhanaWeb’s possession, with the headline, “Queen’s aircraft may land on new runway.”

The April 1959 story, written by de-Graft Sampson, stated that the government was bent on ensuring that the runway at the airport was in good shape to receive the monarch of the country that had, until two years before, been its colonial master.

“The Ghana National Construction Company are to undertake one of the biggest projects under the second Five-Year-Development Plan, with the reconstruction of Accra International Airport, expected to take about 15 months to complete.

“The extension work for which Government has made available the sum of £G3 million, will be carried out in two stages, Mr. M. Boren, the G.N.C.C. sole consultant engineers and contractors told me,” the report stated.

The report explained further that the first stage of the expansion project would involve the upgrade to the runway at the airport.

And this was to be done before Queen Elizabeth II’s visit later that year.

“Mr. Boren further told me that the construction of the new runway, taxiways and the approach roads are expected to be completed before the Queen’s visit in November this year,” it added.

The report added that the second phase of the project was to look at the extension of air travel facilities to some other regions in the country so that they could benefit “directly from Ghana’s internal air service.”

Read the full newspaper report in the photo clipping below:


See the video of Queen Elizabeth II’s historic visit to Ghana in 1961:

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