Public Agenda (Accra)

Ghana: Street Naming to Propel Economic Development

Accra — A recent roundtable conference to discuss research findings on "Urbanisation and Economic Growth" in Accra has agreed that street naming is one of the key issues in the cities that could help propel economic growth.

The meeting said street addresses make it possible to identify the locations of a plot or a dwelling or ground, using a system of maps that give the numbers or names of streets and buildings.

Such addresses according to Bernard Abeiku Arthur and Catherine Farvacque-Vitcovic who are World Bank supported researchers have wide implications for urban management, land management, service delivery, resource mobilization, and local economic development.

"The key task in a street addressing programme include conducting a feasibility study determining the estimated costs and time frames for a street addressing programme, defining the scope of the programme and choosing a codification system," they said.

They further explained that there is the need to guide and channel the process of urbanization in a manner that corresponds to the pattern of major arterial roads.

This can then further be taken over by various parties be they Public or private or even by customary land owners.

This they said will also consist of setting up a national grid, training and human resource development as well as expenditure on infrastructure of a new urban zone.

At the local level, the researchers said the district assemblies in coordination with the National Development Planning Commission can develop a well established monitoring and evaluation system that would collate information from existing agencies like Survey Department, Ghana Statistical Service, utility companies, street addressing units, Land Commission, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, National Board for Small scale Industries, Department of Town and Country Planning etc.

Data from these agencies would feed into the establishment of the system and provide basic data sets to be developed further for the naming process.

The researchers said the system would first be placed on an academic setting and could eventually be transferred to the District Assemblies

In addition to the street naming exercise, Arthur and Farvacque-Vitcovic say in order to create realism in programming, capital expenditure must be related to future resources which require a better ability to forecast available funds.

The objectives of the measures to be taken are to help local governments exercise the functions which are devolved to them.

It will also help them to better organize programming for investments and improve savings capacity.

Ghana has been battling with the issue of street naming for a long time. Various attempts in the past have not been very successful with the exception of a few middle class communities in urban areas.

Last week, the Ghana News Agency reported that the Deputy Minister OF Interior , Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu said Government had earmarked about ¢60 billion from the HIPC Fund for a national street re-naming exercise to facilitate spatial planning and revenue mobilization.

He said the national programme was self-financing, therefore metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies were expected to generate their own resources for the counterpart funding.

The GNA said Mr. Agyemang-Manu announced this when addressing the opening session of a day's workshop for stakeholders in the assemblies to brainstorm on the street re-naming.

A member of the National Street Naming Technical Committee Project, Professor Paul W. K. Yankson, said that the project would be undertaken in phases.

He said the first phase that had already begun was expected to be completed by the end of the year.

They were Shama-Ahanta-East Metropolitan Area (SAEMA), Tarkwa in Wassa West District in the Western region, Kumasi metropolis, Konongo-Odumasi, Bekwai and Offinso in the Ashanti region.

Professor Yankson who is also a former head of the Department of Geography and Resource Development of the University of Ghana said Dodowa and Ada in Greater Accra region, Ho in the Volta region, Koforidua, Kibi and Nkawkaw in the Eastern region would be included in the first phase while Sunyani, Berekum, Dormaa Ahenkro all in the Brong-Ahafo region, Tamale, Bolgatanga and Wa in the three Northern regions would be tackled.

He said disaster victims could easily be located to ensure their safety when the programme was implemented.

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