Over 52% of Ghanaians now live in urban areas – Minister

Akwasi Opong-FosuOne significant change that has happened in Ghana since independence is the dramatic demographic shift from rural to urban areas.

“We are about 80% rural and 20% urban in 1960, but now the urban population in Ghana is over 52%, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Akwasi Oppong-Fosu has said.

Speaking at a one day national Urban Forum in Accra under the theme “The new National Urban Policy: Its Implications and challenges for Ghana’s urban development,” Hon. Oppong-Fosu mentioned that, urbanisation is a global and natural phenomenon for development. In view of this, “we must as a nation, begin to discuss urbanisation as a national issue, so that together, we can fashion out pragmatic and workable actions towards sustainable urban development in Ghana.”

The Government of Ghana in March this year, launched the National Urban Policy (NUP) Framework and Action Plan to facilitate and promote the sustainable development of Ghanaian cities and towns.

President John Mahama believes that this framework can be used to devise strategies that will help curb problems associated with migration into urban areas.

He therefore tasked the Local Government Minister and all Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies to ensure that all streets are named and numbered within the next 18 months.

On his part, the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission(NDPC), Mr. Paul Victor Obeng proposed the formation of media for urban policy so that the engagement between the forum and the media will be a continuing one.

The policy document is believed to represent a bold attempt to comprehensively intervene in the urban sector in order to promote socio-economic development of Ghanaian urban centres which is all inclusive and takes account of the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

The launch was facilitated through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLRD) in collaboration with the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

It is envisaged that this forum will serve as a springboard to disseminate the National Urban Policy Framework and Action Plan to the various stakeholders.

By Pascal Kelvin Kudiabor

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