Preparation for the State of Ghanian Cities Project 2012



Approval Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type


At the start of 2012, the Republic of Ghana marks two critical milestones in its development trajectory. The first milestone is the start of its 55th year of independence and the second milestone is that, according to the UN-Habitat projections (2010), more than 50% of Ghanaians now reside in urban centres. This is significant in a nation whose overall population has grown 28% in the last decade. Urbanisation is rapidly transforming Ghana and has increased the urgency with which the state must formulate and implement policies which leverage the growth for national development. The Government of Ghana has recognised its transition from a rural to an increasingly urban society as demonstrated by its support for the development of a national urban policy which seeks to address the main challenges found in urban centres, namely: a. Need for a clear regulatory framework to improve land use and efficiency b. Upgrading urban infrastructure and associated services c. Safeguarding environmental resources in a context of rapid urbanisation d. Improving access to housing However national and local governments in Ghana face major challenges in the management of urban space and harnessing its potential for national growth and development. While over 90% of urban dwellers have access to improved water services, 67% of urban residents do not have access to improved sanitation and more than 60% of urban residents currently reside in informal housing. Despite what can be characterised as explosive growth in population in urban centres, there has not been a corresponding level of investment in housing, bulk infrastructure or capacity to manage these growing urban infrastructure and service delivery challenges. In the period 1984-2000, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) measured the growth rate of the nation’s two largest cities, Accra and Kumasi, at 3.4% and 5.6% respectively. Yet due to capacity constraints and lack of effective planning, the uncontrolled expansion has not resulted in greater municipal revenue generation or increased extension of services to the growing number of households in Accra and Kumasi. It has instead eroded existing infrastructure resulting in poor waste and sanitation management and increasingly congested public roads.
The goal of this proposal is to support the preparation stage of the State of Ghanaian Cities Project. The State of Ghanaian Cities Project is a multi-phase project which has three main objectives in its preparation phase. The first objective is to support the establishment of a coalition of urban stakeholders inclusive of national and local government, academia and civil society to for the first time through a consultative process discuss and agree on priorities and processes for the launching of research on urban systems in contemporary Ghana. The second objective of the grant is to design a process to assess and take stock of contemporary urban trends in Ghanaian cities in a systematic manner that will enable policy makers and scholars to use the resulting analytical work to improve decision making and inform the training of the next generation of urban practitioners. The third and final objective of this grant is to build consensus through a national workshop on the structure of a project vehicle to drive the research and dissemination of the final products of the proposed State of Ghanaian Cities Project (SGCP). A full application to partially resource the development and dissemination of the report will be prepared and submitted upon completion of the preparatory work contained in this proposal. Upon approval of the forthcoming proposal, the second phase of the SGCP will be undertaken informed by the State of Cities in Africa (SOCA) project hosted by the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town. The second phase of the SGCP will seek to apply the principles of the SOCA project which aims to contribute to the creation of urban knowledge about African cities through coalitions of urban stakeholders or SOCA teams on a national basis. Through the establishment of SOCA teams consisting of national and local government, academic institutions and civil society organisations delivering services to the urban poor, the project aims to generate knowledge on urban systems in Ghana based on local knowledge and expertise. Finally the SOCA project will support information sharing and knowledge exchange between urban stakeholders in Ghana as well between countries taking part in the SOCA process.
Activity One Consultations will be undertaken by a small dedicated team of technical specialists who will be charged with introducing the ‘State of Cities’ concept to urban stakeholders in Ghana namely, but not limited to, the following: a) Ministries responsible for service delivery in urban centres including the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, home of the Urban Development Unit; the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing; Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology which includes the Department of Town and Country Planning ;the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Statistical Service b) Institutions with built environment and local government training programmes such as Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, University of Ghana, Cape Coast University and the Institute for Local Government Studies (ILGS) c) Civil society organizations whose mandate includes providing support and training to the urban poor such as People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements, CHF International, d) Local authorities in each of the ten regional capitals as well as the membership of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) e) International development partners such as the World Bank, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), AFD f) Provide secretariat services to the SGCP Project Steering Committee and Reference Groups Activity Two Compile a report on current data availability for Ghanaian cities and identify any challenges that must be addressed in phase two of the SGCP in order to prepare for the first time a comprehensive report on the dynamics of urban centres including: a) Competitiveness and economic productivity b) Environmental footprint and data management c) Governance and accountability d) City led practices to reduce social exclusion Activity Three The third activity for phase one of the State of Ghanaian Cities Project is to plan and execute a national consultation on the State of Cities project. The consultation will provide a forum for national and local urban stakeholders to come to consensus on the development of the first State of Ghanaian Cities Report as well as to discuss mechanisms for preparation and publication of the report on a consistent basis. Activity Four The fourth and final activity for phase one of the SGCP will be the development of a plan which articulates mechanisms for integrating the research and data to be collected under phase two of the SGCP into a sustainable resource for practitioners and students of the built environment in Ghana. The plan should ensure access to materials both in hardcopy and electronic formats.
Expected Impacts and Results
1) Raise awareness with local government audience regarding the SGCP and re-affirm commitment of national government as well as international partners to support preparation and implementation. 2) Strong local ownership for the project and appropriate working arrangements based on the Ghanaian urban context. 3) Consensus will enable preparation of a high-level implementation plan of the SGCP to be submitted as part of a funding request for the SGCP and corresponding financing plan