Ghana Considers Ways To Improve Urban Mobility

PIC 2Ghana yesterday joined the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s World Habitat Day on the theme: “Urban Mobility”.

The first Monday of October has been set aside by the United Nations for member countries to reflect on the state of their towns and cities, as well as the basic right to adequate shelter.

It was also to remind member countries of their collective responsibility for the future of human settlements for the next generation.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Akwasi Opong-Fosu, speaking at the ceremony in Accra, said Ghana decided to expand the global theme from “Urban Mobility” to “Improving Urban Mobility for Sustainable Development to raise Awareness Towards Stimulating Action to Address the Challenges of Urbanisation”.

He said that “these challenges, including poor land use planning, lack of development control, urban sprawl and the unplanned development of the cities, has its concomitant effect on urban mobility and accessibility by the citizenry, as well as to economic and social amenities”.

According to Mr. Opong-Fosu, effective economic growth could not be achieved if the call for proper land use planning was not enforced by the city planners.

The minister indicated that as the country experienced rapid urbanisation, many communities still lacked land use plans, street names and house numbers thus compelling people to rely on informal directions and local landmarks.

He said these were great disincentives to economic growth as it impedes accessibility to amenities and emergencies.

“It was to correct these anomalies that the President launched the national street naming and property address system which is currently on going,” he added.

Mr. Opong-Fosu urged the assemblies to undertake this important national assignment in consultation with other stakeholders, including chiefs.

“The assemblies must not plan and execute this programme alone but to effectively collaborate with stakeholders, as required by law, to ensure easy mobility and accessibility,” he said.

Mr. Opong-Fosu said the National Urban Policy had been put in place to guide urban planning to promote effective collaboration, in the urban sector, for the implementation of projects.

The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, in a speech read on his behalf, said government’s vision for the housing sector feeds into an over aching aspiration of leveraging the housing sector to facilitate industrialisation, job creation, environmental sustainability and social development.

He said the ministry had signed a memoranda of understanding with Messrs Constructora OAS Limited, to provide 5000 housing units, adding that the first phase of 1,200 is expected to begin soon, after a sod cutting later this month.

Alhaji Dauda stated that 4,720 uncompleted affordable housing units located at Kpone, had been allocated to the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) for completion while the rest at Borteymen, Asokore, Mampong, Koforidua, Tamale and Wa would be completed in partnership with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

The Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr. Isaac Adjei Mensah, bemoaned the haphazard manner shopping malls are springing up along major roads, which he indicated, had negative traffic impact at intersections
He called for closer collaboration between stakeholders, to ensure that an effective and efficient transport system was provided to improve travelling times for commuters.

The Country Repre-sentative of UN Habitat, Joan Clos, in a speech read on her behalf, said mobility, as an important part of city design would not only reduce congestion and pollution but also unearth the economic potential of cities.

She therefore, urged that a mode of transport that would focus on bringing people together through accessibility rather than simply increasing the length of urban infrastructure, be encouraged.

A message from the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, said getting mobility right could regenerate urban centre, boost productivity and make cities attractive for all users. - Lawrence Akpalu

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment