Workshop on population distribution, urbanisation and development opens

A two-day conference of research experts aimed at bringing to the attention of policy makers, critical challenges and opportunities offered by urbanisation and finalising a National Population Policy for Ghana, opened in Accra on Tuesday.

It would be assembled in a document, which is expected to be a concise and comprehensive assessment of the nature, content and dimensions of the phenomenon of population distribution and urbanisation in Ghana, in order to develop a comprehensive urban policy to promote integrated urban development.

Dr Andrew Arkutu, Chairman, National Population Council (NPC), addressing the opening session, said that currently, the spatial distribution of the population throughout the country was uneven due to disparities in resource endowment, provision of infrastructure, opportunities for gainful employment and socio-economic development.

Dr Arkutu said urbanisation was gradually becoming a global disaster in spite of its positive socio-economic benefits.

He said that with an estimated growth rate of about 3.3 per cent annually between 2000 and 2005, Africa was only in the early phase of its urban transition.

Dr Arkutu said “However, in Ghana it is estimated that about 52 per cent of Ghanaians live in cities and towns and if the trend continues, it is estimated that by 2020, close to a third which is about 60 per cent of Ghanaians would be living in urban areas with greater percentage of them made up of peri-urban slums”.

He said problems associated with peri-urban slums such as “Sodom and Gomorrah” in Accra, were that they created conditions and foster negative and anti-social behaviours such as violence, criminalities, and these settlements acquired a life, logic and dynamism of their own and were not easy to dislodge.

Dr Arkutu said detrimental effects of the rapid and unplanned pace of urbanisation on the socio-economic development and quality of life and well being of the people posed a huge challenge to development.

He stressed that available evidence suggested that urban populations would continue to grow faster than rural population even if the urban bias in development strategies were revised.

Dr Arkutu urged participants to highlight the positive impact of urbanisation to the country’s development.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, drew the attention of participants to the upcoming National Population and Housing Census that starts on 26 September.

He said the Census, which was expected to confirm that consistent with trends observed in the rest of Africa, the population of Ghana was rapidly becoming urbanised.

Mr Chireh emphasised on the need to establish proper data collection and management systems through the enhancement of capacities, proper collaboration and networking of various organisations and agencies to ensure proper data for planning and development processes.

Dr Edward K. Omane-Boamah, Deputy Minister, Environment, Science and Technology, in a speech read on his behalf, pledged the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring accelerated socio-economic development of the nation through the formulation of sound policies and regulatory frameworks to promote the use of appropriate, environmentally friendly, scientific and technological practices and techniques.

He said policies and programmes such as the Urban Environment and Sanitation Programme I and II, Urban Poverty Reduction, Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene and the Slum Upgrading Programmes were all aimed at addressing critical gaps in the availability and access to facilities by urban dwellers, particularly the urban poor.

Dr Stephen Kwankye, Deputy Director Regional Institute for Population Studies, educated participants on the differences in population and urbanisation, as well as the challenges and effects on socio-economic development.

He stressed the need to develop a national vision that would reflect on the needs and aspirations of the wider population to achieve a national vision.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.