The Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah has urged Development Planners to develop pragmatic solutions to help control the rapid rate of urbanisation.
Mayor Sowah said this at the opening of the Ghana Urban Forum 2020, (GUF2020) in Accra on Tuesday on the theme "Unlocking the Systems of Planning, connecting and financing for secondary and intermediate Cities to propel growth towards the ‘Ghana Behind Aid’.
"The City of Accra is growing rapidly and pragmatic steps have to be put in place to control the rapid rate of urbanisation. Some believe these steps must necessarily be the development of the peripheries and secondary cities. Others believe there should be the development of more compact cities that take into recognition the full gambit of sustainable living especially in the face of our development history. That is a question that experts must be considered in such an august meeting, “he said.
He questioned whether the timing was appropriate to revive the Joint Development Authority programme that would see to the overall development of adjoining towns as one contiguous.
He pointed out that according to a study by the Marron Institute of Urban Management of New York University, the city of Accra had expanded by over 60% in the last 25 years adding that vision of the assembly was to build a sustainable resilient and liveable city where we can live in and love it whilst appreciating the diversity, growth and inclusiveness.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, in a keynote address called on cities to devise investment that integrates resilience through implementation, operation, maintenance, monitoring and evaluation due to the challenges posed by urbanisation.
"As we continue to urbanize, we will continue to face challenges in meeting the needs of our growing urban population including housing, transportation, energy systems, other necessary infrastructure as well as employment and provision of essential services to support our education and healthcare system. We need to position ourselves against the adverse effects of climate change, such as floods, earthquakes, droughts, so many other undesirable consequences of climate change. And cities will need to devise investment that integrates resilience throughout the project cycle; from planning and design, through implementation, operation, maintenance, monitoring and evaluation in all types of infrastructure and certain delivery projects, to balance the required rapid and extensive expansion of infrastructure with present and future risks, " she said.
She disclosed that her ministry was focusing on digitisation to improve revenue mobilisation of the assemblies in the country
She also touched on the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Programme, which is aimed at improving flood risk and solid waste management in the country adding that this among other programmes had been developed to support the development of cities.
Ms Sylvia Lopez- Ekra, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana, in a statement observed that urbanization had become one of the world's most transformative trends, posing several sustainability challenges and great opportunities hence the attention on sustainable urban development.
"Today, secondary cities, most of which are located in Africa and Asia are often not given enough attention as countries often ignore the productive role that they can play in a balanced national system of cities. Because of that, secondary cities often lack resources. They struggle to attract investment for the needed infrastructure they cannot create enough jobs and therefore lose skills, they have poor logistics infrastructure and services which is a vicious cycle prevents the development of their economies,“ he said.
She stressed the need to work together to give secondary cities greater autonomy whilst strengthening their governance efficiency and business competitiveness.
"We must adopt innovative approaches to strengthen the capacity of local government authorities and enable them to finance their development needs to meet the demands for adequate infrastructure and social services for their growing population in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner. Extensive investment in urban infrastructure through the districts will be key to realise Ghana's vision for accelerated economic development, “she added.
Participants at the two-day forum are expected to examine ways in which secondary cities can work more collaboratively to improve their development prospects, lift prosperity, leverage public resources to support equitable and sustainable sub-national economic growth and development.