An eight -member delegation from city of Palermo, Italy on Monday began a five- day visit to the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis in the Western Region.
The visit forms part of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) partnership with Palermo municipality, Ghana Sicily Business Forum Cooperazione Internationale Sud Sus (CISS).
It is funded by a European Union grant of three million Euros as part of the Twin Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP).
The delegation includes Prof. Maurizio Carta, Councillor of Parlemo and Prof. of urban planning, Parlemo University; Antonella Tirrito, Councillor of Parlemo Municipality; Daniela Prinzivalli, Programme Manager, Parlemo Municipality; and Sandro Giacomarra, an architect.
The rest are Dominique Pasta, Interpreter, Francesco Campagna, Honourary Councillor of Ghana in Sicily and President of Ghana Business Sicily Business Forum, Margherita Maniscalco and Marco Miceli, Entrepreneur.
Welcoming the delegation, the Metropolitan Chief Executive of STMA, Mr Abdul-Mumin Issah, stated the project was launched in 2019.
STMA together with Kumasi Technical University, he explained, considered its medium-term target to improve the quality of life of people within the metropolis through a private- public- partnership to reduce poverty by expanding opportunities for all.
He said the project also aimed at improving urban management, fostering transnational cooperation, enhancing socio economic development through employment creation and raising the value of cultural heritage both in Sekondi-Takoradi and at Palermo.
Mr Issah stressed “every intervention to be delivered under the TCSPP is to help achieve the assembly’s medium term plan with overall focus on building a prosperous society, creating equal opportunities for wealth creation, safeguarding natural environment and ensuring resilient built environments.
“The cooperation between the two cities in executing this project is pointing at co- creating urban governance for green, sustainable and inclusive development of Sekondi –Takoradi and strengthening their twin relationship.
The project would also address challenges including urban sprawl, climate change, poverty and ultimately, exclusion, that is, the vulnerable, the deprived and marginalised groups in the metropolis,” he added.
Mr Issah, however, reported that, challenges in implementing the project included cynicism, unjustifiable accusations and uninformed criticism from especially from the media and some assembly members.
Prof. Carta for his part, noted that, cities were now the problems and the solutions in urban approach.
He said the relationship among keys of sustainability, that is, economic ecological, cultural, social landscape, was “the true meaning of integrated sustainability.”
Coordinator of TCSPP, Isaac Aidoo, reported that, overall, the project sought to promote sustainable and integrated urban development in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis.
Key objectives, he said, included enhancing urban management and climate change resilience.
“We are also doing quarterly awareness creation on taxation and increasing revenue. We have also opened a platform whereby we can access all our services,” Mr Aidoo added, assuring that “we are on course, at least meeting our targets, though there are challenges.”
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, SEKONDI