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General News of Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Source: GNA

Urban Management Project to develop four cities

Accra, Oct. 6, GNA - The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, in collaboration with development partners, is to set up an urban management pilot project, to develop four major cities in the country.

The Ghana Urban Management Pilot Project, being undertaken in collaboration with the Agence Francoise de Development, is aimed at urban planning and investment in infrastructural facilities in Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Tamale and Ho on pilot basis.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the sector minister announced this in Accra on Monday, at a durbar to mark World Habitat Day celebration. The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of towns, cities and the basic rights of mankind to adequate shelter.

This year's celebration on the theme: "Planning Our Urban Future," was celebrated in Ghana on the national theme: "Prevention of Slums and Slum Upgrading."

Mr Yieleh Chireh said a major problem of urban planning in the country was lack of collaboration among stakeholders in the urban sector for joint implementation of projects.

He said to solve the problem; stakeholders were currently preparing an Urban Policy with the support of German Agency for Technical Co-operation and other development partners. "This policy will guide urban planning and development in the country and promote effective collaboration in the urban sector," he said. Mr Yieleh Chireh called on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to use their mandate as planning authorities, to provide social and economic infrastructure to communities and collaborate with traditional authorities and land owners to ensure the effective organisation of economic and social activities. "I wish to remind MMDAs not to plan in isolation. but come together to form joint planning boards as required by law to plan for our cities," he said.

Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, expressed disquiet of the fact that though Ghana had recorded continuous economic growth since 1984, there was no "positive physical change", to correspond to the growth, stressing that it was high time the country took a critical look at the master plan to secure a better future for the city.

He said the metropolis had developed into a physical manifestation of poor planning policies. Dr Vanderpuije expressed disquiet about the irresponsible behaviour of some building inspectors and city planning officers who allow illegal structures to be erected.

He expressed concern that some areas in Accra, which served as the historical and cultural repository of the nation, were experiencing decay.

Dr Vanderpuije gave the assurance that plans were far advance to upgrade and preserve traditional architecture in selected areas in the country.

Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, in a speech read on her behalf observed that unemployment, lack of social amenities were some factors that worked together to make women migrate to the urban centres in search of better living conditions. "Another reason that accounts for the high rate of female migration of late is gender- based violence and the discrimination women face in their communities," she said.

Ms Dansua appealed to urban planners and technocrats to consider the different needs of women and children when they are planning and preparing to implement policies. 6