A group of private sector practitioners
and the Government are currently discussing the construction of
a modern city in the lower Western Region to support the industrialization
strategy articulated by President Mills in the second State of the
The proposed city, besides supporting the petrochemical industry,
is expected to become the best practice urban landscape by which
other cities and urban towns in Ghana shall be benchmarked.
According to a statement released by Charles K. Boakye, Chief Executive
of Infrastructure Systems, one of the promoting agencies, the overall
long-term flagship program involves the preparation of ambitious
urban master plans that will transform parts of the lower Western
Region into world-class cities affording residents the highest quality
of life. Two cities shall be developed, one at a time, over a period
of 15 years, and balancing demand with supply. The program will
target urban communities between the Pra and Tano Rivers, namely
Cape Three Points, Princess Town, Axim, Esiama, Nkroful and Half
Assini among others, after consultations with the Western Regional
House of Chiefs, development professionals and the people. Tullow
Oil, as part of their corporate social responsibility, is financing
the preparation of structural plans for some of these towns.
The first city will be designed to accommodate a maximum population
of two million, while the subsequent city to commence after 2016
shall hold up to one million people. With China building 220 cities
over a period of 20 years, it is reasonable and feasible for Ghana
to target 20 cities throughout the country using planning and financing
strategies similar to that adopted in China.
The city project anticipates investing about US$15 billion for
new industries and world class ground infrastructure in transportation,
telecommunications, electricity, water supply and sewerage systems.
Eventually, other investors will be invited to support construction
of a deep sea port, airport, real estate, convention centres, etc.
Prior to commencing infrastructure construction, inflows and receipts
from land leases will be channelled towards financing key industries
that would support infrastructure delivery; an integrated iron and
steel processing plant at Oppon Manso, a cement plant at Nauli in
Nzema, an alumina processing plant at Awaso, a glass plant at Asiama
or Aboso, and oil and gas-based industries. The plan takes due cognisance
of tile manufacturing industries, tapping into available large clay,
limestone and granite deposits, and also crediting mining tailings
from old mining towns as aggregates for real estate and construction
“If you understand how money works, you should understand
how we shall raise the money”, says Mr. Boakye, responding
to concerns regarding how the money will be raised. Targeting an
initial prime area of 200 square km (20km X 10km) or 20,000 hectares,
equivalent to a third of the land area of Accra, an amount of $15
billion will be raised and invested in the city over 8 years. Half
of this amount will be raised from land financing, and the rest
through a credit system, bonds and stocks, microfinance, equity
holdings and direct foreign investment. Loans shall be contracted
only when necessary, bearing firmly in mind that the only legitimate
reason for taking on debt is to create wealth. The World Bank which
has carried out work in the corridor in recent years has notified
Government of its interest in the project.
“Money alone does not build nations; visions, strategies
and ideas do. We are going to use money, credit system, land financing
and mineral security to build our city,” said Mr. Boakye,
an Economist and a former Senior Municipal Engineer of the World
Bank. “If it has worked elsewhere, it should work in Ghana,
and the State must take an active part in this.”
“We shall target the high end of the market as the success
of the first project is very important. Real estate firms, oil industries,
financial institutions, services industries, Ghanaian expatriates
and ordinary residents are all potential clients. If we don’t
build cities expected of an emerging oil industry, oil company staff
will depend on neighbouring countries, where better infrastructure
could be assured”, added Mr. Boakye.
The cities shall benefit from massive investments in infrastructure
and manufacturing facilities, with world-class enclaves for medical,
sports, cultural and eco-tourism facilities, underpinned by significant
economic and employment generation activities. The Kundum festival
will be marketed as an international phenomenon, a key activity
on the country’s tourism calendar. A Sports mini-city will
be an integrated settlement where one can live, work, learn, play
and watch sports, offering a year round calendar of sports and entertainment.
Featuring leading sporting academies, state-of-the-art facilities,
the enclave will promote sports tourism and become Ghana’s
most active lifestyle community.
A Building Materials mini-city, marking the beginning of astounding
growth in Ghana’s real estate industry, will be designed to
aggregate companies that manufacture building materials such as
tiles, steel and aluminum products, plastic and plumbing products,
timber veneer and furniture, electrical and cabling products, ironmongery
and glazing products, household appliances, etc. .
An Industrial growth zone equipped with superior facilities for
light and medium industries is planned to provide functional, efficient
and independent designations assigned to a wide range of manufacturing
and assembling supplies and services, for example, pharmaceutical,
electronics, automobile, etc. The zone will also provide a logistics
park perfect for storage and warehousing.
Steel, glass and aluminium skylines will be the strongest part
of the city’s brand, like any 21st century city. The new city
will be properly equipped to host major international institutions
and agencies, research bodies, and multinational corporations that
have turned away from Accra due to inadequate infrastructure facilities.
When we build and build them right, they will come. Focusing attention
on the new city will reduce pressure of development in Accra, enabling
policymakers to systematically redesign and regenerate Accra into
a world class national capital.
Article : Charles Kwame Boakye
Land financing is a major component of the funding mix for the development
of the Western Region cities programme. The main attraction of this
approach is the upfront generation of funds which reduces the burden
of borrowing. Land developments will be priced to reflect the costs
of accommodating growth. A publication by George E. Peterson of
the World Bank titled – Land leasing and land sale as an infrastructure-financing
option - demonstrates how several cities have carried it out. For
example, Shanghai city authorities raised more than $100 billion
for its makeover programme, about half the needed investments. Cairo
raised $4.57 billion from sale of 5400 hectares of desert land without
financial cost to Government. In Mumbai, $1.2 billion was obtained
from only 13 hectares. More recently, several billion dollars were
raised in Cape Town, Bangalore, Khartoum, Luanda, Bogota and Istanbul
from land leases to finance infrastructure.
Long-term leasing of a third of 20,000 hectares (200 square km)
is projected to generate an estimated $7.5 billion over eight years.
World class cities require world class infrastructure and the higher
the quality of infrastructure, the higher the land value. It is
expected that infrastructure investments in the enclave will drive
up prices, and as the land values overtake the investments costs,
the public budget also will share in these land value gains.
The most reassuring statement supporting this strategy was made
by Awulae Annor Adjaye III, Omanhene of Western Nzema Traditional
Area, “...the Chiefs and people of the Western Region will
not sell their lands but use them as equity in future investment
programmes.” The State is expected to establish a legally
empowered Asset Manager to hold assets on behalf of land owners,
and the youth of the respective areas will be given the first chance
in job opportunities.
The solution to the problem of unemployment is industrial development.
Industrialization is the only policy directive that will ensure
quality employment — promoting the development of different
employment categories, from highly skilled white-collar to blue-collar
factory jobs, and sustain growth. Ghana has some of the finest architects,
planners, engineers and other construction professionals who will
be challenged to lead the programme, with support from international
experts as needed.
The massive real estate facilities anticipated will require a buoyant
construction sector, which is a prerequisite for the success of
the programme. Contractors, construction personnel and consultants
are the bedrock of the modernization programme. The Government will
be supported to develop real estate laws and improve contractors
classification systems, design effective monitoring and evaluation
mechanisms to measure the performance of contractors, and establish
a body through an act of parliament to regulate the construction
sector. Estimated temporal and permanent employment openings for
the first phase will exceed half a million by 2016, including thousands
of construction-related occupations such as construction managers,
electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, tilers, etc. The
Government is expected to drive national awareness of the importance
of skilled workers in building the nation’s economy and send
the message that careers in the skilled trades will be plentiful,
lucrative, and fulfilling.
New laws to catalyze development
New legislation required to support the programme will be enacted
and new institutions incubated. These include: (i) the Western Region
Cities Development Authority, (ii) National Credit Act, (iii) Infrastructure
Development Bank Act, (iv) Integrated Iron and Steel Authority Act,
(v) Aluminum Authority Act, (vi) Cement Commission, (vii) Land and
Equity Act, (viii) Tile and Natural Stone Commission, etc. The Railway
Development Authority Act is already in place and the Government
will be supported to develop a world class railway system, a source
of pride for the nation.
It is expected that the growth of the industrial economy will strengthen
the agriculture, services, knowledge and innovation economies; and
increase the competitiveness and productivity of the public sector.
The purchasing power of public sector staff should be increased
to enable them purchase assets in the expanded economy.
A better Ghana
It is expected that the combination of land financing, secured credit
systems, quality infrastructure, buoyant private sector, expanded
market, plus high rates of return on investment and large potential
inflows of foreign capital shall ignite a self-reinforcing cycle
of investment, development, and more investment that will signify
the birth of Ghana’s economic boom. The institutions, structures
and industries that will be created will help generate numerous
productive jobs, and permanently raise the productive level of the
World-class cities are not built overnight, but if not started today,
they will never become a reality. In city design, good things do
not happen by accident; they are planned. Our new city will shape
the character of future generations to come. Hopefully, our descendants
will look back proudly from the beautiful new renaissance cities
the nation has built, at our humble efforts in these times in the
midst of the greatest global crisis mankind ever faced, with gratitude
that we were able to give each one of them and their children, everywhere
in Ghana, the opportunities to live lives worthy of the sacred creations
We shall not have the moment again if we let this chance slip by,
if we let the beautiful lands in the lower western corridor develop
into slum settlements, the statement concluded
Institute for Infrastructure Development, Accra