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Development of the cities of Ghana

Africa Region Working Paper Series
Number 110
Catherine Farvacque-Vitkovic
Madhu Raghunath
Christian Eghoff
Charles Boakye
January 2008

5 mai 2023

This report presents an analysis of the urban sector in Ghana and provides practical recommendations on how to unlock the development potential of the cities of Ghana.

Three entry points have been identified :

  • Urbanization and land markets. Current rapid and largely uncontrolled urban growth is stressing capacity to efficiently deliver infrastructure and services and is resulting in urban sprawl and inefficient use of land.
    Land management is a key constraint, with lack of systematic planning complicated by an overlap between the customary and formal systems of land delivery.
  • Decentralization, municipal finance and service delivery. Financing of service delivery and practical arrangements for sharing of duties and responsibilities between the District Assemblies and the central Government remain to be implemented. There is a need to move away from dependency on transfers and to link the local planning process to the mandate of local authorities.
  • Local economic development. Urban areas provide the ideal environment for businesses to maximize opportunities for economic growth. Currently, the country’s service sector is inching along and productivity gains and economies of scale are limited.

The report advocates moving away from “business as usual” and recommends a set of concrete actions linking municipal management reforms to improved access to services and economic growth, providing operational tools for planning for the future, improving fiscal transfers and local taxation and creating an environment favorable to businesses and economic activities.

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