Ghana's President John Mahama has said he will join efforts on the international campaign for better urbanization.
Flagstaff House. Ghana State House
The Head of State said that it was saddening that most of African countries were urbanizing very fast yet the development was chaotic. "We must address this issue not only in Ghana but the rest of the continent"' he said.
Speaking when he hosted the UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos at the Flagstaff House in Accra, President Mahama said he was happy with what the agency was doing in his country. "The problem I have noticed not only in Accra but in other towns in Ghana and most countries in Africa is that there is no good planning and am happy that UN-Habitat is addressing this issue", he said.
Both President Mahama and Dr, Clos agreed that good planning was paramount in making sure that urbanization was well managed in Africa.
"If you do not plan a city well you are just postponing a problem which will catch up with you some years later", Dr. Clos said.
President Mahama said that when Nigerians decided to start a totally new capital in Abuja many thought it was a wrong idea. "But now we are seeing that the Nigerians were right. In fact if everything had stayed in Lagos by now that city would have been shut down."
The Head of State said he was up to the idea of hosting fellow African Heads of State for a session on urbanization during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September. "If we hold that session then we can have urbanization as an agenda at next year's Africa Union Summit," he said.
President Mahama said he will rally his cabinet to address urbanization issues in Ghana because he wants to see his country be a trail blazer on the continent. "I have seen cases where people build very expensive houses yet basic things like access roads are non existent and we must address this," he said.
The Accra mission had continued support from the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon who assured UN-Habitat of her office's full cooperation in all the activities it shall undertake in Ghana. Also present was Ghana's High Commissioner to Kenya who is also the country's Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat Mr. Kingsley Saka Abdul Karimu- Ghana High Commissioner to Kenya.