A three- day workshop has been held in Accra on how to awaken enlightened cities and develop partners towards rapid urban growth by identifying initiatives and interventions, which would help improve the management of African's urban transition.
The three-day workshop under the theme: “Promoting the Role of Cities,” was organised by Cities Alliance in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Addressing participants of the workshop was President John Dramani Mahama who urged United Nations member states to endeavour to implement the global compact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said the implementation should be done by localising the targets into their respective national development planning frameworks, particularly the SDG Goal 11 to “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” and directed at addressing the challenges presented by urbanisation.
President Mahama speech was read on his behalf by the Chief of Staff at the opening of the Cities Alliance Africa Strategy Workshop, Mr. Julius Debrah recently.
President Mahama said as a Co-chair of 17 eminent persons, assisting the United Nations Secretary-General in a campaign to achieve SDGs, he is mandated to support the effort to generate momentum and commitment to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Though, the first gentleman of the land recognized challenges presented by urbanization also appreciated the massive socio-economic and infrastructural development potentials of urbanisation.
President Mahama said cities are hub for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and have enabled people to advance socially and economically.
He said many challenges exist in maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity.
The President said the challenges cities face could be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resources use and reducing pollution and poverty.
Mr Emmanuel Kwadjo Agyekum, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said urbanisation is one of the most significant processes affecting human development in the 21st century.
He said in Ghana the situation is not so different from other African countries and to deal with the challenges, Ghana had developed a comprehensive decentralisation programme and the granting of autonomy to metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.
Mr William Cobbett, Director of Cities Alliance, said Africa should focus on the building of small and medium cities and the transformation of relations between cities.
He said the continent should also move from short to long term pragmatic and reliable policies to develop its cities.
Present at the ceremony was Mrs Christine Evans-Klock, UN Resident Representative in Ghana, Mr J. Pierre Elong Mbasel, Secretary-General of the United Cities of Local Governments in Africa and ministers from some other African Countries.