Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, while contributing to a debate at the UN Security Council in New York, USA, has called for drastic action by governments to prevent domestic inequalities that lead to urban migration.
He said inequalities created fertile grounds for conflicts and should be avoided at all cost.
Vice President Bawumia was speaking on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, during a debate on “War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings”.
The meeting was presided over by Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gare Støre.
Ghana became a member of the UN Security Council in January this year for a two-year term.
Dr. Bawumia said: “The issue of poverty which is an important element in urbanization would need to be addressed. National initiatives would need to be supported to equalize access to economic opportunities in all parts of a country.”
This, he said, would help manage the factors that drove migration, which often leads to unplanned urbanization and bred conflicts.
Dr Bawumia is scheduled to meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guteress before leaving for Washington, DC on Wednesday to hold discussions with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Molly Phee.
The two leaders are expected to discuss the security situation in the Sahel, and political instability in West Africa whose regional body, ECOWAS, President Akufo-Addo currently chairs.
Dr. Bawumia expressed concern about the threat posed to civilian populations by extremist groups such as Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Magreb, organizations whose activities have become a growing threat in the West Africa.
He said such groups “scapegoat civilians in their crusades and consider them as cannon fodder.”
The roles played by civilians in such wars demonstrated the complex nature of modern warfare, he said.
The Vice President said the world had witnessed what he called “the horrific effects of urban conflicts” in places like Syria, Iraq and Yemen; but also much earlier in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire where the civil wars were fought in cities.
He said urban conflicts created opportunities for violent extremist groups to radicalize young people.
Ghana is serving on the Security Council alongside two other African countries, namely, Kenya and Gabon.
Kenya’s term elapses at the end of 2022 having been elected a year earlier.
In November, Ghana will take over the Presidency of the Security Council on which it is serving for a fourth tenure since independence in 1957.
Among other concerns, Ghana wants to galvanize the Council’s attention towards addressing include; violent extremism in the Sahel and growing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.