Ghana holds Urban Forum to strengthen governance and management

Accra, The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development through its Urban Development Unit has organised the Ghana Urban Forum (GUF) in Accra to provide inputs that would strengthen Ghana’s urban governance and management.

The forum was to enhance policy dialogue among national government actors, local government functionaries and practitioners, community representatives, civil society entities, private sector interest groups and other stakeholders and provide the opportunity to deliberate on emerging urban development challenges in the country.

It was on the theme: Localising the New Urban Agenda: Promoting Spatial Planning as a Pre-requisite for Ghana’s current Industrialization Drive and served as a prelude to the ninth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF 9) schedule for February 7-13, 2018 in Malaysia to ensure the development of inclusive, safe, and resilient cities, thereby reducing inequality and poverty in many cities around the world.

The WUF 9 is on the theme: Cities 2030, Cities for All: implementing the New Urban Agenda.

Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said the theme for the forum was relevant because there was a global consensus that appropriated urban planning strategies and policies that would contribute significantly to economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability and resilience.

He said industrial development was closely intertwined with urbanisation, as industrial production occurs in urban, sub-urban, or peri-urban areas.

Mr Amoah who is also a Member of Parliament for Akwapim South in the Eastern Region said the existing land tenure system in the country made it difficult for businesses to own or rent land to establish their presence and government need to digitise land administration to make the process of interrogating titles and registering land simpler for stakeholders.

He said Ghana was going through a difficult stage of transition from rural to a more service based national economy adding that, National economic and regional development policies have not delivered quality jobs and investment to districts and regional economies.

The Deputy Minister said, the successful implementation of the One District One Factory policy is tied to addressing challenges associated with the land tenure system.

Dr Christine Evans-Klock, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Ghana said the new urban agenda recognised urban and spatial planning strategies as having the potential to transform cities and accelerate inclusive economic growth.

She said Ghana’s achievement in developing urban policy was impressive and that the country remained one of the few countries in Africa to have developed such policies and had the opportunity to continue that leadership by over-coming implementation constraints.

Dr Evan-Klock identified implementation constraints as inadequate financial resources, issues with accountability and challenges faced with partnerships.

She said: Great plans without the means to implement them do not have much impact but financial constraints call for innovative solutions, not shelving the plans because the funds did not easily materialise.

Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said the spatial planning of urban cities had faced major setbacks on what was captured in document and the reality on the grounds.

He said the heart of the country’s industrial transformation was the District level and had led to the development of a District Industrial transformation policy.

Mr Lindsay said the district industrialisation policy by government would be driven down to the districts and admonished all the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to identify industrial zones in their areas.

He said: If we can identify industrial zones in all MMDAs that will be enough, adding that a District Implementation Team has been put in place to ensure the implementation of the policy.

Mr Ishmael Ashitey, the Greater Accra Regional Minister said the importance of spatial planning cannot be overemphasised as it has contributed to achieving a balance in urban development.

He said spatial planning could help in ensuring that nature was protected and natural diversity promoted as well as contributed to interpreting nature’s protection into the thriving of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Source: Ghana News Agency


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