Ghana has a population of close to 21 million persons, 43% of those being urban dwellers. The economy is growing at approximately 5% and the country has many natural resources, which means that it has a higher per capita income than neighbouring countries. However it has suffered from high inflation and about 60% of the work force works in the agriculture sector. The urban poor are estimated at 1.5 million persons. The government of Ghana is keen to make improve living conditions for its citizens and new housing and municipal finance policies are under preparation. The banking sector in Ghana seems keen to experiment with ways to enable capital to reach the urban poor.
New Takoradi is a fishing community located about 2 kilometres from the central business district of the city of Takoradi with an estimated population of 13,852, an average house hold size of 4.7 and a room occupancy rate of 4.8. Although a planned community, New Takoradi’s population increased rapidly over the years and this has put a lot of pressure on housing and existing facilities leading to uncontrolled development and encroachment on public spaces including roads. Unemployment rate in the community is about 30% with majority of the working population engaged in buying and selling of mainly fish and fishing related commodities. The New Takoradi area development project involves the upgrading of houses as well as the provision of social infrastructure such as markets.
The New Takoradi Housing Improvement project is aimed at assisting households and individual in the community to improve their houses as well as the facilities in the community. The houses require different levels of improvement and upgrading and the levels depend on the ability of a land lord to pay. The Landlords Association in new Takoradi is championing the project with technical support from the Slum Upgrading Facility. Thus, most of the information provided is limited to the members of the Landlords Association which is a voluntary organisation. The project also has the objective of upgrading the market area in the north of the settlement to improve livelihoods and therefore improve the potential of the residents of the community to improve their living conditions.
The plan is to support the New Takoradi Landlords Association to secure loans for the individual members to upgrade their homes. The New Takoradi Vendors Association will also be assisted to construct market stall for its members.
Expected results include tried and tested mechanisms for providing capital financing for slum upgrading in New Takoradi, including the provision of housing and housing improvement and market improvement; improved quality of life in participating communities, and; and leveraged private bank participation in slum upgrading projects.
Improved living conditions for the low-income community of New Takoradi.