The Ghanaian Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Honorable Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo will today welcome participants to a Special Session of the Ghana Urban Forum, taking place at La Palm Royal Hotel in Accra. Organized in partnership with the Cities Alliance this Special Session will discuss the challenges and opportunities of rapid urbanization in Ghana.
According to Nana Oduoro Kwarteng, Chief Director of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, “We need to engage in dialogue, raise the issue so that policy makers and planners are hearing the concerns of the people… the whole idea of urban development is inclusivity.”
With an urbanization rate of 4 percent Ghana is one of the most rapidly urbanizing countries on the Sub-Saharan African continent. Estimates are that 51 percent of the population of 24 million lives in cities and towns, up from 23.1 percent in 1960 and 43.8 percent in 2000. Projections are that with an annual growth rate of 3.6 percent, Ghana’s urban population will more than double between 2000 and 2025. 45 percent of urban residents live in slums with limited access to basic services.
The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) is the largest and the most densely populated urban concentration in the country, with a population of 2.7 million that is expected to grow to 7.5 million by 2030. The challenges of rapid urbanization however, also present tremendous opportunities. An estimated 60 percent of Ghana’s national output is produced in urban areas while the Government of Ghana is determined to harness this and other opportunities to help the country attain middle income status by 2015.
The special session will be the fifth in a series of forums established by the government to provide permanent space for all urban stakeholders to debate the issues of rising urbanization in Ghana. Cities Alliance will support the continuation of these national forums as part of the Ghana Land Services and Citizenship for the Urban Poor programme (LSC), a partnership initiative undertaken by the Government and its support partners to align urban development efforts at the national, local and community levels.
Facilitated by the Cities Alliance the LSC program seeks to:
- Support national and local policy dialogue to promote sustainable urbanisation, ensure the empowerment of local governments, and reinforce the importance of active community participation.
- Strengthen the capacity of local government to inclusively plan and manage urban growth.
- Empower organisations of the urban poor to actively engage in local development.
The LSC program is being developed through extensive consultations at the national, local and community levels. Key LSC partners include: the Government of Ghana which is implementing the LSC through the Urban Development Unit (UDU) and the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), both under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). Local partners include the Ghana Federation of the Urban Poor, People’s Dialogue, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). These partners are in turn supported by international organizations including Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), UN-HABITAT, and the World Bank.
Expected to participate in the Special Session on Ghana’s urban future will be Paul-Victor Obeng, Chair, National Development Planning Commission, Ghana; Professor Naa Nabila, Member of Council of State and Chairman; Hon. Simone Compaore, Mayor, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Sarah Ibanda, ACTogether, Uganda; Clare Short, Chair, Cities Alliance Policy Advisory Forum and former UK Minister for International Development; Hon. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra; Farouk Braimah, People’s Dialogue/Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI); Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Executive Secretary, United Cities and Local Government-Africa; in addition to William Cobbett, Cities Alliance Program Manager.