‘Make Urban Planning A Priority’

Beatrix Allah Mensah, World Bank Senior Country Operations Officer has called on the government to make Urban planning a priority if the country is to achieve substantial economic transformation.

The Country Operations Officer made the call at the launch of the 52 page Ghana Urbanization Review Report held at the La Beach Royal Hotel, Accra late last week.

She said Ghana should apply and implement policies, actions and investments that will grow its cities and towns in order to take advantage of the associated benefits.

Ms. Beatrix Allah Mensah stressed that though government has a major role in urban planning, urban spaces start and end with people who can make it healthy, secure or hostile, happy or stressful.

On her part, the Head of Cooperation, Swiss Embassy, Mrs.Brigtte Cuendet said urbanization has the potential to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty and generate greater social inclusion among the people.

She said successful urbanization can also boost rural development as cities have the potential to extend the benefits of urbanization beyond their administrative boundaries.

Mr. Akwasi Oppong Fosu, Minister at the presidency who represented the Vice President described urbanization as the most significant processes affecting human settlements in this century.

He noted that more than five out of every ten Ghanaians live in a city or town and that if this trend continued a greater proportion of Ghanaians will become urban dwellers by 2030.

The Minister called for the urgent need for investment into what he described as flagship urban infrastructural projects in order to foster inter-jurisdictional and joint development coordination among MMDAs.

He further noted the need to promote municipal financing as a means of providing urban infrastructure as well as deepen decentralization to empower the MMDAs to deliver on their mandate.

The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda said the review report was from the joint efforts by the ministry and the World Bank with funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Development (SECO).

He explained that the review report is an effort to provide government with additional data to evaluate the implementation of the Ghana National Policy which seeks among other things to provide a more comfortable environment for Ghana’s urban population.

The Minister was happy that the review report provides what he described as new insights that will help the country deal with the challenges of urbanization in a more realistic manner having in perspective lessons from other countries of the world.

Alhaji Collins Dauda assured that the recommendations in the report which includes managing and integrating MMDAs through improved service delivery and providing legal and financial backing for speedy economic development will receive the needed prominence.

By Solomon Ofori


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