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Cities as strategic resource : Guideline for Ghana’s national policy revision

Cities as a driver of sustainable and inclusive economic transformation
A report by the Ghana Urbanisation Think Tank

14 juin 2021

As a regional pioneer, Ghana is busy revising the National Urban Policy (NUP) it released in 2012. The original NUP intended to, “Comprehensively intervene in the urban sector to facilitate and promote the sustainable development of Ghanaian cities and towns … and promote a sustainable, spatially integrated and orderly development
of urban settlements with adequate housing, infrastructure and services, efficient institutions, and a sound living and working environment for all people to support the rapid socio-economic development of Ghana.” The NUP was organised around 12 “policy objectives” with corresponding “initiatives” and “activities”, covering finance, economic development, the urban environment, safety and security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, planning and spatial management. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a major urban innovation or idea that has not been planned, trialled or implemented somewhere in Ghana over the 60 years of independent rule.
A review of Ghana’s NUP over its first six years revealed many successes, but also some limitations and an overly complex urban policy landscape that sees many urban communities established prior to provision of spatial planning and bulk services. The critical need at this stage of Ghana’s urban development is to cut through the multiple layers of urban policy and strategy and coordinate the public and private investments that seek to develop Ghana’s cities.
This document provides a guideline to the NUP revision being undertaken by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. It aims to bring together the many actors and multiple urban development initiatives already underway in Ghana around the role of cities in addressing three national risks – inequality, climate change and fiscal instability. Each of these risks holds the potential to undermine the development gains Ghana has made since the 1990s. However, a coordinated response to them could tackle the vagaries of unplanned urbanisation, including congestion, sprawl, localised air pollution, flooding, social exclusion and lock-in to high carbon development pathways.

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