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05.06.2007 General News

Urban poverty is on the rise

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A Survey on Urban Development and Economic Growth has revealed that urban poverty was in the ascendancy in the capital cities of the country.

It noted that while poverty had declined in many parts of the country, the new emerging trend of poverty in the cities was very alarming.

The survey conducted by the World Bank and supported by Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment targeted strategic areas as urbanisation and market, decentralisation and local economic development.

The survey which was conduct in five cities- Accra, Kumasi, Tema, Sekondi and Takoradi indicated that, Accra and Kumasi were expanding in leaps and bounds and that there was the need for proper planning to forestall the problems associated with urbanisation.

According to the survey, the growth in the city had been concentrated in the western parts, including Awoshie, Lapaz, Abeka North, Odorkor, Nungua and South Teshie while the peri-urban areas included Dome, Taifa, Gbawe and Anyaa.

It noted that in Kumasi, migration had been a significant contributor to the population increase in the metropolitan area and the peri-urban growth resulted from the reclassification of rural urban settlements citing Ayigya, Tarkwa Maakoro, and Dikyemso as examples.

At a roundtable to discuss the findings expected to provide a road map for the necessary action on urbanisation, Mr Mat Karlson, the World Bank Country Director said, the current trends of urban poverty particularly in Accra and Kumasi must be dealt with before it got out of control.

He noted that if the necessary caution was not taken, it would lead to the creation of slums that could not be managed as had been the dilemma in most African countries.

Mr. Karlson stated that about 10 per cent of GDP was lost due to irresponsible use of resources in the urban slum communities saying, “we need a concerted approach from sectors such as district and municipal council and the like to change the situation”.

He noted that the World Bank had been supporting government in various ways to ensure that problems associated with urbanisation were solved and the bank was to invest 45 million dollars in support of urban transportation.

Mr. Abraham Dwumah Odoom, Deputy Minister for Local Government said urban development situation in the country involved a mixture of policies, that needed the support and input of different Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

Mr Odoom noted that a National Urban Development and Growth Policy was being considered for the promotion of the right synergy, necessary for ensuring urban development and the effectiveness of achieving a more positive impact.

He said the approach would ensure the convergence of urban development effort, consolidate the processes of resource allocation and management, build capacities for urban planning and management.

Source: GNA

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