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Accra is congested, however relocating Ghana’s capital isn’t the one choice

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Capital cities play an necessary function within the socio-economic growth of each nation. Folks typically transfer to cities the place there are alternatives.

Accra, Ghana’s capital, demonstrates this pull impact – and the issues it could create, like congestion and growth planning points.

One of many penalties has been common flooding, which has claimed lives and property. Over time, town authorities have tried to decongest Accra, with out success. The town is now demolishing illegal structures, particularly these near waterways.

Some individuals have instructed that Accra’s congestion drawback could possibly be solved if the capital have been to be moved to a different metropolis. Others disagree.

Our place on this ongoing debate is knowledgeable by a six-year-old study one in all us carried out evaluating Accra with Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Nigeria moved its administrative capital out of Lagos to Abuja in 1991.

The objective of the analysis was to make suggestions for the efficient functioning of capital cities. We consider the findings are nonetheless related.

The examine discovered that Accra was congested as a result of too many amenities and companies have been concentrated within the metropolis. We conclude that, as a substitute of relocating the capital from Accra, its varied roles could possibly be shared amongst varied regional capitals. Accra might preserve its political function, however a few of its amenities and companies ought to be distributed across the nation.

Accra’s many capabilities

Ghana’s capital metropolis has a number of capabilities: academic, industrial, leisure and administrative.

As an educational centre, Accra has about 40 tertiary establishments. The seat of presidency, parliament home and the supreme court docket of Ghana are additionally in Accra, giving it an administrative and political function. The key sporting actions in Ghana are soccer, athletics and boxing. The nation’s solely boxing arenas are in Accra. The town additionally has the Ohene Gyan Sports activities Stadium and the Olympic Stadium (below building).

<span class="caption">Ghanas inhabitants by area.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Authors</span></span>

Respected analysis institutes corresponding to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Analysis are situated in Accra. The headquarters of main spiritual organisations – such because the Christian Council of Ghana and the Workplace of the Nationwide Chief Imam – are additionally situated right here.

Some amenities that would have been situated in different cities are all concentrated in Accra. Total, town serves because the nation’s industrial, manufacturing and communication centre.

This has attracted main non-public firms to find their headquarters within the capital. Ghana Inventory Trade, the nation’s principal facilitator of the event of the capital market, additionally has its headquarters in Accra.

The mix of its political function and all the opposite amenities and companies within the metropolis has attracted individuals from all elements of the nation. In line with the 2021 Inhabitants and Housing Census, the Larger Accra Area is essentially the most populous area in Ghana, with a inhabitants of over 5 million people. The area, with a inhabitants density of 1,200 individuals per sq. kilometer, can also be the most densely populated area in Ghana.

This density has led to site visitors congestion and overcrowding. On common, site visitors throughout the key highways within the Larger Accra Metropolitan Space grew from 2.5% to 14.8% every year.

The multi-functional nature of Accra has led to strain on land assets which has additionally resulted in encroachment of inexperienced areas and wetlands. The result’s that elements of town are unsafe to stay in. The perennial floods which declare human lives and destroy properties have been attributed to town’s development and spatial planning problems.

Options

Relocating capital cities doesn’t essentially clear up the issue of congestion in the long run if the elemental causes of the congestion aren’t addressed. For instance, the relocation of Nigerian’s capital metropolis to Abuja didn’t clear up congestion in Lagos.

We argue {that a} extra possible choice for Accra is to vary the function of town from a multi-functional function to a political function.

Nationwide insurance policies ought to give attention to de-concentration by relocating a few of the amenities and companies which are at the moment within the capital however don’t require direct entry to the chief. These could embrace the headquarters of some authorities establishments, nongovernmental organisations, universities and analysis institutes, spiritual organisations and personal firms.

The relocation of the headquarters of the Ghana Cocoa Board from Accra, for instance, could possibly be considered as Accra isn’t a cocoa producing area. Such an establishment could possibly be moved to a spot the place cocoa is produced.

The headquarters of Ghana Nationwide Petroleum Company could possibly be moved to the western area of Ghana, the place oil is drilled. Universities situated in Accra could possibly be inspired to determine branches in different elements of the nation, thus decreasing the variety of college students on the Accra campuses. This may assist promote spatial fairness in Ghana when it comes to geographic entry to college schooling.

There could possibly be incentive packages for establishments to determine their headquarters exterior the capital. These within the capital could possibly be charged a particular congestion levy. Lastly, there ought to be a acutely aware effort to present useful roles to all of the 16 regional capitals in Ghana. The useful roles can embrace industrial capital, defence capital, leisure capital and sports activities capital. The decentralisation of amenities and companies would assist distribute alternatives – and folks – throughout the nation.