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15.03.2007 General News

Ghana’s urban poverty too high

By myjoyonline

World Bank Country Director Mats Karlson says Ghana's urban migration is still high, and requires an urgent effort to address the phenomenon.

He also added that the solution is not just an issue of foreign donors and partners giving the country money because for him “there is a lot of money in the country but we need to put it in the right areas.”

Though Ghana has in the last few years received a lot of support that has helped in some reduction in poverty levels, Mr. Karlson says there are other emerging real problems.

According to him, the problem of urban migration and its associated risks are high. He made these remarks during a visit to Nima, a community in the capital, Accra by the visiting President of the Bank, Paul Wolfowitz.

Urban Migration is one of most important problems that confronts most developing countries and as well as rich nations. In Africa, most rural folks and other citizens swarm main cities in their country for better conditions of life and access the opportunities that come with living in the big city.

The end result of the expeditions to the city is the creation of slums in the big cities. These areas have become the bedrock of poverty because they lack very important social amenities, good shelter and education. One such area in Ghana is the popular Nima community.

Wolfowitz, whose visit to Nima coincided with the 50th independence anniversary celebration, was according to Mr. Karlson because he is very concerned about the growing urban poverty in Africa and for that matter Ghana.

He noted that while it appears that Ghana is making strides in eradicating poverty in general, it is loosing the fight against poverty in the cities where a lot people live.

The World Bank Country Director says everybody needs to think about urban challenges like sanitation, infrastructure, roads, and water and how we can bring services to the people in the slums.

The Bank says it is helping in areas such as the environment, sanitation, water and transport in the urban areas.

Mr. Karlson says one sure way of maximizing money to help reduce the problem of urban poverty is to think about how the municipal authorities are organized because they have very little funding and the inability to mobilize its own funding.

He further explained that in other countries there are clear property rights and owners pay money to the municipal authorities but in Ghana very little funding is mobilized from the municipal authorities.

He called for an overall urban policy to address the problem of urban migration and urban poverty.

Culled from the dailyExpress