One third of Greater Accra resident live in slums

Accra, Jan. 30, GNA – It is estimated that nearly one-third of the population of Greater Accra Region lived in slums, according to a Population Division of the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs’ (DESA) report.

 

The total number of people living in slums in Ghana was estimated at 4.1 million in 2001 and then to 5.5 million in 2008.

“The locus of the poverty is now moving to cities. This phenomenon has been referred to as the urbanization of poverty” it said, and noted that urban poverty was not only characterized by low levels of income and consumption but also by squalid living conditions and lack of access to services and opportunities.

This, the report said, has brought about uncontrolled growth of urban areas and the emergence of slums have culminated in a deterioration of the urban environment with part of Accra like Kaneshie and part of the Central Region for instance being prone to flooding due to improper disposal of solid waste generated by increasing urban residents.

 

Urbanization also leads to the conversion of agriculture lands to urban land uses including housing and infrastructure development. The Ghana Country Environmental Analysis conducted by the World Bank estimates that the poor resource management cost Ghana 10 percent of GDP with 4 percent due forestry and wildlife depletion and other 4 due to water and air pollution.

 

Violent crimes are also more common in cities than rural areas; the report said, adding that in 2008, Greater Accra, Central and Volta regions experienced 403,118 and 27 cases of robbery and that these rose to 519,166 and 50 respectively in 2009.

 

The situation leads to a sense of general insecurity and invariable proliferation of Private Security Organizations of Ghana (PSOG) with more than 350 security agencies in the country most of which were operating without proper documentation and clearance.

 

In general, urban residents tend to have a better access to social services as basic education health, drinking water and sanitation than their rural counterparts.

 

These inequalities, the report said, tend to promote rural-urban migration, government health facilities, which account for 70 per cent of the entire health service delivery system in the country, cater for only an estimated 30-40 percent of Ghana’s population who are mainly resident in urban area.

The UN Department has therefore called for the revision of current National Population Policy, to reflect current realities particularly urbanization.

There is the need for an urgent facilitation, adoption and implementation of a comprehensive national urban policy as spelt out in the country’s Medium Term National Development Policy framework Agenda .

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