The implementing institutions of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) project, the Department of Urban Roads, Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority and COWI have organised an inception work shop for stakeholders to make inputs into the preparation of a comprehensive structure plan for GAMA.

The project covers 32 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Greater Accra and part of Central and Eastern Regions. The acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) Mr.Kwadwo Yeboah in his address said the inception workshop was organised to solicit inputs from stakeholders on the preparation of the structure plan and to create public awareness on the importance of spatial planning to sustainable human settlement development. He noted that rapid urbanisation was fast becoming a development challenge in the management of urban settlements in Ghana, especially in Accra and called for urgent measures to be put in place for effective land use and spatial plans to guide physical development. He added that both the core and the peripheral areas of the city were being developed without recourse to planning regulations which is evidence of uncontrolled urban expansion, slums and squatter settlements, as well as indiscriminate sitting of temporal structures and other menace.

The CEO underscored the express need to have a comprehensive structure plan with proper implementation strategies to solve the outlined challenges in the city and said the continuous sprawling of Accra without adequate infrastructure was disturbing, expensive and unsustainable in the long term and the time to change the face of Accra was now.

He also explained that the previous GAMA Strategic Plan and Structure Plan developed by the then Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) contained the most comprehensive proposals for the management and development of Accra. The various components in that plan reflected in the areas of sanitation, housing, drainages and flood control, as well as a management structure to address urban development challenges. He noted that those proposals in the previous strategic plan had outlived its usefulness as a result of changing dynamics in urban development in the metropolis over the years and needed a review to meet current trends in development.

He stated that effort had been made to prepare the Greater Accra Regional Spatial Development Framework in 2017 as part of the legal requirement of the land use and spatial planning Act, 2016, act 925 to solve the multiplicity of urban management issues. He expressed the Authority’s displeasure on the observations made during the monitoring of MMDAs last year where it revealed that most of them had not adhered to their spatial planning functions, and the regulatory framework. He said spatial planning was the pivot of development interventions and the spatial sustainability in GAMA would support economic transformation of the nation to provide job opportunities for all Ghanaians.

The Board chairman of LUSPA, Prof. Kwesi Kwafo Adarkwa encouraged the consultant to spend some more time on the project’s contextual situation within the sub-regional, regional and national levels, given that there were several issues at each of the levels which could impact the growth and development of GAMA. He emphasized on the need for broader stakeholder consultations among diverse groups within the project catchment area to make them fully aware of the existing situation and proposed solutions in the structure plan to address those challenges.

The Chief Director for the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, Mrs Felicia Dapaah expressed the collective expectation of the Council that the structure plan, when finalized and approved would address urban development challenges in the region. The African Development Bank (AfDB) representative, Sheila Akyea was optimistic that the outcomes of the stakeholder engagement, in addition to the implementation of the plan would spearhead the revolution for achieving success in the cities of GAMA and also used as benchmarks for the development of other cities in Ghana.
She reiterated the Bank’s financial commitment to ensure that the project was diligently executed within the planed period.

The project is executed by the Department of Urban Roads with Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority as the technical institution overseeing its implementation and COWI as the Consultant.