African Journey - Part 3
Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana
The third leg of our journey will allow us to experience the conditions in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana – 3 countries located in the heart of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The landscape of Liberia is characterized by mostly flat to rolling coastal plains that contain mangroves and swamps, which rise to a rolling plateau and low mountains in the northeast.
Tropical rainforests cover the hills and semi-deciduous forests make up the dominant vegetation in the northern sections. The equatorial climate, in the south of the country, is hot year-round with heavy rainfall from May to October. During the winter months of November to March, dry dust-laden harmattan winds blow inland.
For this part of our journey, the Land Cruiser Prado TX will be deployed. A true all-rounder, the Prado TX provides the styling and comfort you expect from a top of the range vehicle, whilst also answering the demands of the toughest off-road terrains. On road or off road, the Prado’s advanced suspension and frame structure assure outstanding performance. This is a model which can call upon over 50 years of heritage steeped in quality and reliability. Many organisations find this model to be the perfect combination for urban usage and off-road leadership.
TGS Technical Training team has conducted 2 driver training events in recent years in Liberia so we know the conditions quite well. Driver training programmes are so important as they lead to safer driving techniques and increased awareness of best practice. In the most recent case our Technical Training team engaged with WHO drivers from a wide range of regional field offices with the intention that we would “train the trainers” leading to a significant “knock-on” effect.
The journey from Monrovia to Abidjan in Ivory Coast is approximately 1000 km and while the roads are mainly paved, there are sections where the road is worn away due to the effects of weather and insufficient maintenance. Don’t worry, the Prado TX can handle all of this. Additionally, our vehicle will have CODAN HF and Motorola VHF equipment fitted to allow reliable communications on-the-go.
Many of our humanitarian agency customers request that the experienced TGS workshop teams fit HF and VHF communications equipment to their vehicles prior to shipment. Whilst mobile phones usage and coverage is increasing all the time in countries like Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana which are seeking to become more advanced economically and socially, HF and VHF communications are a key element in helping humanitarian workers confront the challenges they face on a daily basis. It is inexpensive and reliable especially in remote locations where a great deal of the front-line works takes place.
Ivory Coast has one of the strongest economies in the region and is a major world player in the cocoa beans market. Abidjan is the largest city and the economic capital and hub of Ivory Coast. Close ties to France since independence in 1960, diversification of agricultural exports, and encouragement of foreign investment have been factors in the economic growth of Ivory Coast.The Ivory Coast has more than 1,200 animal species and 4,700 plant species. It is the most biodiverse country in West Africa, but unlike other countries there, its diversity isn't concentrated along the coast, but rather in the rugged interior.
Little over 500km separate Abidjan and Accra the capital of Ghana. Relative political stability and relatively little corruption help Ghana to score well in the least fragile African state index (5th). Allied to these factors, Ghana is located just a few degrees north of the Equator and enjoys a warm tropical climate where two main seasons exist – the wet and dry season – leading to a significant tourist industry. An interesting fact - Ghana is geographically closer to the "centre" of the Earth geographical coordinates than any other country.
Like Sierra Leone in the second leg of our journey, Ghana and Gibraltar have strong volunteering and supporting connections. Several TGS employees joined a “Make a Difference” project a few years ago which sent a team of Gibraltarian volunteers to Ghana to assist in the building of a school.
This year, this project was taken forward once more and a group of Gibraltarian volunteers carried out a similar project over the course of a few weeks in Ghana. TGS contributed to the financial support for this initiative and you can see a short film about the project at the link below:
This concludes the third leg of our journey. We look forward to next month when we take on Mali, Niger and Chad with the help of the Land Cruiser 79 Double Cabin.