Book On Accra Launched
A book on the city of Accra entitled, "Visions of the City: Accra in the 21st Century," was launched at the Goethe-Institut in Accra on Tuesday by Madam Theresa Tagoe, the Deputy Minister for Works and Housing. The Deputy Minister in her launching remarks bemoaned the poor transport network in the city and its satellite towns. She said, "As a country we do not have the resources at present to invest in an underground rail system for Accra but a simple over ground rail transportation," would help stem the chaos caused by heavy traffic in the city.
The book is a compilation of well-researched presentations at a seminar in the year 2000, which was under the theme, "Visions of the City: Accra in the 21st Century." The book examines the experiences of some cities and their developmental challenges and problems. Many broad themes including land information, technology ideals, housing, public transport policy and social infrastructure among others are discussed in the book.
The Minister said overhead rail transportation system could be very effective and efficient from Kasoa through the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra to Tema and then another line from the CBD to Nsawam to curtail heavy traffic in the city.
She said, "I would like to see anyone who works in the Central Business District but residing in Kasoa, Aburi, Dodowa or Prampram taking less than 30 minutes in travelling time with well-planned alternative mass transportation systems."
Madam Theresa Tagoe who is also the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South said cities must have certain basic infrastructure to function irrespective of their location and cultural settings. These, she said, include good road networks and an efficient mass transportation system, water and energy supply as well as efficient and safe sewage and waste disposal systems.
She cited internal migration as having contributed immensely to the congestion in the national capital city. "The social implications of migration, employment and housing in the city are multi dimensional. One of the effects of these is the unfortunate environmental and living conditions of residents such as Sodom and Gomorrah."
Professor Ralph Mills-Tettey of the Ghana Institute of Architects who together with Mrs. Korantema Adi Dako edited the book, gave a lecture on "Four African Cities: Lagos, Kinshasa, Freetown, Johannesburg". He traced the histories and developments of these cities and said there is great hope for many Africa cities which would shift from decay, decline, and dehumanizing conditions to renewal, resurgence and renaissance.
The Managing Director of Woeli Publishers, Mr. Woeli A. Dekutsey said the book was published through collaborative effort and thanked all those who contributed to the success of the book.
The former Mayor of Accra, Mr. Nat Nuno-Amarteifio who chaired the function said much has not changed in the last three to four years because the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has not been empowered to fully take control of the metropolis.
Dr. Petra Raymond, the Director of Goethe-Institut who hosted the launch, in a welcome address recounted the history behind the launching of the book. She said in 2000, the Goethe-Institut, in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Architects, organised an international seminar with the theme, Visions of the City: Accra in the 21st Century. The book is therefore a continuation from where the seminar left off. The first five copies of the book were auctioned for ¢6.7m.