Kumasi Metropolis is among the seven mid-sized cities across the sub-Saharan African to benefit from the African Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) project being implemented by the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
The project will initially focus on policy analysis impacting foreign direct investment, with a view to creating employment, stimulating local and domestic enterprises development and fostering socio-economic growth.
Briefing newsmen on the benefits of the project, in Kumasi at the weekend, Nana Asante Frempong, Vice chairman of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), and the Managing Director of Wonoo Ventures, said in addition to foreign direct investment, the MCI would promote an integrated City Development Strategy (CDS).
He hinted that the other MCI cities were, Kisumu in Kenya, Blantyre in Malawi, Akure, Nigeria, Bamako and Segou, both in Mali and Louga in Senegal and that the cities would draw upon and strengthen the Millennium Development Goals already underway by adding a focused urban-based components.
Nana Asante Frempong who is also the immediate past chairman of the Parliamentary select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, noted that attracting foreign direct investment to sub-Sahara was difficult.
He however, said fortunately, new opportunities to attract direct investment had been made possible due to good governance and economic policies in the sub-region, other possibilities offered by effective development mechanism and commitments of donor resources to upgrade African infrastructure.
Nana Frempong who is also the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwabre, indicated that the major initial goal of the MCI was to build on these favourable trends and provide research-based policy analysis to help turn them into substantially increased flows of foreign direct investments.
Nana Frempong pointed out that the MCI would cooperate with other international organizations to bring the attention of international investors to the seven regional scale cities close to the millennium Villages.
He said these cities were important in that they were already sizeable, growing rapidly and represented the best chance for balanced industrialization.
Nana Frempong said an advisory Board consisting of recognized business leaders was being formed to provide technical and business strategies as to how to move the MCI project forward.
He called on all business communities and individuals with business proposal to liaise and collaborate with the AGI to be able to benefit from the MCI.