About 265 slums at different stages of development have been identified in Accra, a senior lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr. Prince K.Anokye has disclosed.
Citing a recent research conducted by People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements (PD) Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), he said: “As many as about 116 are still in their infantile stage, with some already fully developed slums.”
Dr. Anokye was presenting findings on a literature review and research methodology used in a study of three informal settlements in Accra yesterday [Wednesday].
They are Madina Zongo, Agbogloshie and Chorkor.
He said the project was intended to improve the socio-economic conditions of the informal settlers by strengthening their voices and improving access to justice and basic service.
“If we were to use the right based approach and people begin to know what rights they have, they can actually begin to hold duty bearers accountable and they can keep the fire on, as it were,” the lecturer added.
Addressing a national stakeholders workshop on the theme: “ Improving governance, voice and access to justice in Ghana’s informal settlements,” Dr Anokye said about 76 informal settlements in Accra had already developed into mature slums, which called for a two-pronged approach: preventive and curative approaches.
He attributed the fast development of informal settlements in Accra and other big cities to the inability of people to find affordable housing when they moved down in search of jobs, and the high cost of land that prevented people from owning their own houses.
Dr Anokye added: “when people migrate, they migrate for economic reasons.they come to eke out a living and they want to live close to the source of employment as possible.Anywhere far way would mean spending all their money on transportation.that will mean they will keep having slums around the core city centres because that is where the jobs are,” he said.
The study was supported by the Land Resource Management Centre(LRMC), people’s Dialogue on Human Settlements, KNUST and the International Development Centre of Canada.
To reduce this trend, Dr Anokye suggested that the government “must stimulate the market to supply housing that is affordable or ensure that we get a system where people can get access to build their own houses”.
He noted that even though there had been several drawing on house policies in the country, they had not been implemented.
The lecturer also called for a revision of the country’s housing strategies, where those who could easily afford would be targeted and supported to own houses.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Sadique, said the Zongo Development Fund “this year and in the years to come will be the catalyst for transformation, the government envisage for Zongos and the inner city communities.”
He noted that the Ministry had developed a plan for a prosperous, inclusive and sustainably developed inner cities and Zongos on for thematic areas: infrastructures and sanitation, social and economic development, crime and security control and heritage and cultural promotion.
He added that that would be achieved through collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure that the envisage goals of transformation were reached.