Accra – Mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) has released Accra’s first Resilience Strategy.
Rapid urbanisation presents a host of complex challenges for the city’s residents and administration. Yet it also represents an opportunity, highlighting the pull of the city as an engine of economic growth and an important gateway into West Africa.
Taking this as a starting point, the Resilience Strategy represents a holistic roadmap of immediate and long-term actions to ensure Accra is better equipped to face the challenges of the 21st Century.
“Today’s release of the City of Accra’s Resilience Strategy marks the first of its kind for our city and only the second in West Africa,” said Mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah. “The strategy builds upon a shared identity which celebrates our rich cultural heritage while capitalising on opportunities to become a better, stronger, more resilient Accra – a city that is poised to anticipate, mitigate, and respond to whatever acute or chronic challenges that we may face now and in the future.”
For Accra, building resilience means bringing together systems, institutions, and all the resources with which the city is endowed. This collaboration is critical for Accra to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change and become more responsive to acute and slow-burning disasters, especially in vulnerable communities. Together the strategy’s 3 pillars, 8 goals, and 27 initiatives support Accra’s ambition of becoming a smart, sustainable, and resilient city that anticipates and plans for unexpected shocks and stresses, rather than reacts to them. Accra’s Resilience Strategy sets forth a vision to transform the city’s ongoing stresses into opportunities: by embracing informality as an engine of growth, designing infrastructure to improve the natural and built environments, and optimising resources and systems for greater efficiency, accountability, and transparency.
“This ambitious strategy offers a clear and thoughtful framework for addressing increasingly urgent urban trends, and transforming these challenges into long-term opportunities,” said Dana Omran, Managing Director for Africa at 100 Resilient Cities. “We are thrilled that the City of Accra has joined Paris, New York, Dakar, and many other urban leaders in adopting an inclusive, resilient approach to urban development.”
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly is well-positioned to address the challenge of enhancing resilience, through pursuing a number of initiatives which address the city’s most intransigent chronic stresses – such as the high cost of living, an inefficient public transportation system, and poor waste management – as well as catastrophic one-time shocks which include flooding, fire, and the potential for disease outbreak. The strategy’s 27 actionable initiatives are organized around 3 key pillars:
- An Integrated Approach to Infrastructure Planning and Service Provision
Accounting for changing climate patterns, economic trends, and population growth, infrastructure planning and delivery should anticipate the shocks and stresses that threaten our city. We must ensure that our infrastructure and service delivery can adapt to new and unforeseen challenges in the future.
- Optimise New and Existing Resources with Accountability and Transparency
The City of Accra seeks to effectively and efficiently leverage limited existing and emerging resources, in order to optimise planning and implementation efforts which improve municipal service delivery for all, especially our city’s most vulnerable populations.
- Embrace Informality’s Contributions to Resilience Building
Informality – covering economic, housing, waste, and transportation systems, among others – is that which lies outside of formal arrangements. In Accra, a vibrant and growing informal sector constitutes almost 80% of the economy. By embracing informality, we can ensure its continued and increased contribution to Accra’s resilience.
Implementation of Accra’s Resilience Strategy will be led by the AMA’s Resilience Team, with Dr James Mensah, Chief Resilience Advisor, and Akua Serwaa Ansah, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer, at the helm. Each actionable initiative offers clear next steps for implementation.
“By working collectively to bring to life the initiatives presented in the Resilient Strategy, we have the potential to positively affect all who call Accra home,” said Dr James Mensah, Chief Resilience Advisor for the City of Accra. “The strategy release will by no means be the end of Accra’s resilience journey. We hope to count on the help of residents, businesses, the philanthropic community, and more, to implement these initiatives and together build a more resilient Accra. The doors of the Resilience Office remain wide open for partnerships and fruitful discussions on the way forward.”
Among the key initiatives in the Resilience Strategy are innovative efforts to integrate the vast network of trotros into the city’s nascent Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and upgrade vehicles to lower Green House Gas (GHG) emission rates – thereby tackling both high traffic congestion and pollution levels. With dedicated support from the AMA and global partners, this project has the potential to reimagine mass transit in Accra. Implementation for a first phase of the project will be shared by the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE) and the AMA.
Resilience challenges are very rarely contained by jurisdictional boundaries, and this Resilience Strategy seeks to advance greater collaboration amongst all Assemblies in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area. Its 27 initiatives are also closely aligned with Ghana’s Medium Term Development Plan, and once implemented, will contribute to the achievement of many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063.
Financial and technical assistance for the Accra Resilience Strategy were made possible through a partnership between the City of Accra and 100 Resilient Cities. Accra has been a member of the global 100RC network since December 2014.
About 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation:
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.