The International Growth Centre in Ghana (IGC), in collaboration with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) on Friday organised a colloquium to brainstorm on how to build effective cities for growth in Ghana.
According to Professor Ralph Mills-Tettey, who is a Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Architects and Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences , what was now termed an “urban age”, was only beginning, and cities worldwide were becoming larger, more diverse, more fluid and less manageable than has been the case in the past.
He said such growth was not sustainable in the long term if no action was taken now and measures put in place for the systems and processes of the future.
In his presentation on “Effective cities: What we know and where we are”, he cited technologies as the fundamental building blocks for creating a smarter and better functioning Accra.
He stated that as much as there were positive sides to urbanization, rapid urban growth can have negative consequences such as the urbanisation of poverty where people lacked quality shelter, food and security.
Mills-Tettey however advocated for good governance, leadership and management capacity, investment in infrastructure for social services and economic development such as housing, schools, health facilities, waste management, ICT, roads, transport as well as energy for the benefits of urbanization.
The conference, which brought together policy makers, researchers as well as Civil Society Organisations, would provide input on the on-going dialogue on urbanisation, and the role of cities in socio-economic development, to inform Ghana’s preparation towards the up-coming World Urban Forum to be held in Medellin in Colombia.
Mr Kwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, indicated that Ghana’s efforts in addressing the urban agenda has earned President John Dramani Mahama an invitation to champion the African Urban agenda by addressing the up-coming World Urban Forum.
According to him Ghana was on the path to give a positive narrative of the urban challenge, identify why the clustering of economic activities in cities was important for growth and resolve on how to promote efficient urbanisation and the effective functioning of cities.
He said Ghana has responded to these challenges by formulating and implementing policies on decentralisation and local governance, National Urban Policy framework and National Urban policy action Plan and National urban forum.
T he country was still pursuing its Street Naming and Property Addressing as well as Local Economic Development, and also cited other interventions as Public-Private Partnerships and Environmental Sanitation Policy.
He indicated that the task ahead was enormous and requires partnerships between state and non-state actors to succeed and that inputs from the conference would be greatly appreciated.
Dr Nii Sowa, Director of International Growth Centre in Ghana, said the IGC, which was an international network of researchers and policy stakeholders, works to bring frontier research and knowledge to bear on questions of economic growth.
He said discussions would focus on broad issues that underpin the success of great cities and these include infrastructure such as housing and roads; social amenities and services, including public transport; sanitation and health, and security issues such as indiscipline and safety in the cities. GNA