A lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is calling for new methods of solving the strangling challenges of urbanization in Ghana.

Prof Sam Afrane maintains the traditional methods have failed to provide the needed solution to slum development, unemployment, water shortage, housing deficits and the many crises associated with urbanization.

He was speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop dubbed the Ghana Urban Platform IV aimed at finding innovative solutions to the challenges of urbanization.

The workshop is under the theme “Access to my City: Economy, Services and Shelter”.

Prof Afrane told Myjoyonline.com on the sidelines of the workshop that: “For a very long time the solution to urban planning has been the monopoly of our technocrats and public institutions. They work very hard but unfortunately they have not been able to provide all the answers. The new thinking is that the stakeholders must be part of addressing, analyzing the problems and coming up with solutions. So the platform opens up to various stakeholders so that they can together discuss the problem and find solutions to it”.

Enumerating some of the challenges of urbanization, Prof Afrane said 50 per cent of the country’s population is now staying in the cities and urban areas, mounting pressure on limited social amenities available.

It is not surprising therefore that there is increasing shortage of water supply, acute housing deficits, poor waste management strategies, outbreak of cholera.

He called for a shift in attitude, planning and implementation by all involved to help solve the crisis.

“We cannot wish urbanisation away. Our cities provide a lot of value to our national development. And therefore we need a policy framework which allows people to find good housing, access to water and to live reasonably well in our cities. It is possible. It has been done in several countries and we as a country must find the answers to good urban development,” he said.

The workshop was attended by Naa Prof John Nabila, President of the National House of Chiefs, Nii Adjei Krakru, Tema Mantse and a host of queen mothers from Greater Accra and the Eastern Regions.

It was organized by CHF International, an NGO with specialization on urbanization issues, in collaboration with the Institute of Local Government.

Prof Nabila who was the guest of honour lamented the many “psychosocial stresses” associated with urban life; a situation he said is almost non-existent in the rural areas.

“The chief is almost lost in the urban centres,” he said, adding, the complexity of the human beings makes it difficult to implement to perfection the many policies that have been well planned and sorted.

In a speech read on behalf of the Local Government Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, government deplored the cholera epidemic in parts of the country.

The Minister called for concerted efforts in fighting the canker and pledged government’s commitment to solving the many sanitation problems.

The participants for the two day workshop include representatives of local government, Municipal, District Chief Executives, academics, policy makers. It will end on Wednesday.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana