KUMASI, located at the centre of the Ashanti Region, with its good road network and airport, is the preferred trading centre for most of the surrounding regions and an important commercial centre for West Africa.
It is also known as the Garden City of West Africa due to its green environment and forest resources.
Kumasi is the most populous region in Ghana. According to the last National Population and Housing Census, it has a population of 4.7 million people (2010 Population and Housing Census).
In addition, Kumasi serves as the commercial hub for the neighbouring Brong Ahafo Region, the three northern regions of Ghana and parts of the Western and Eastern regions, creating a potential market for about 12 million people (www.investinkumasi.com).
As part of the plans by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to tap the economic and business potential of the metropolis, the assembly, through the assistance of the Government of Finland, has set up the Kumasi City Investment Promotion Unit (KCIPU) to spearhead KMA's private sector activities with a website dedicated to the promotion of business and economic activities in the city.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Kojo Bonsu, says the assembly is positioning Kumasi as the preferred destination for investment in the country to boost its economic development.
He has, thus, appealed to the investors to turn their attention to Kumasi as the city has a lot of economic and business potential that can be tapped for the mutual benefit of the investors and the people of the metropolis.
The CEO said part of his objectives was to see to the economic development of the metropolis to make it one of the vibrant cities in the country.
He said there were business opportunities within and around the metropolis that could be tapped to create more jobs for the people and also help the people have gainful employment, thus improving their economic conditions and generating revenue for the local and national authorities.
He said the KCIPU undertook a research to identify business opportunities in and around Kumasi and developed these into what the assembly called profiles.
According to him, these profiles provide potential investors with as much information as possible on investment opportunities within and around the metropolis.
Mr Bonsu said somewhere last year, the assembly organised an investment roadshow in Accra and "we have received some formal requests from potential investors who have expressed interest in some of these opportunities.
Available opportunities in the metropolis include real estates, as there are vast tracts of lands for the building of houses to accommodate the ever-growing population.
Though the metropolis does not have a land bank, traditional authorities are willing to release their lands for such ventures.
Other business opportunities in the metropolis include bamboo and rattan for furniture, multi-storey car parking facilities and hostel facilities to accommodate ever-increasing number of tertiary students and visitors in Kumasi.
Kumasi hosts numerous research institutions that provide technical support for the cultivation and processing of bamboo, including the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Due to the high number and quality of its educational institutions, Kumasi offers a specialised, educated labour force which is less expensive than in Accra. Kumasi currently employs 586,436 people in agriculture, forestry and fishery.
Most parts of the Ashanti Region's 24,389 sq km land have the ideal soil structure for bamboo cultivation. The climate is also favourable for growing bamboo, and bamboo may be harvested all year round in the Ashanti Region.
The Ashanti Region's traditional authorities foster peace, unity and stability and serve as the custodians of most lands. In 2003, the government, in partnership with the World Bank, launched the Land Administration Project (LAP), which has helped the traditional authorities to streamline the land acquisition process in the region.
Multi-storey car park facility
Kumasi is a fast-growing city and also an important' commercial centre for Ghana and surrounding countries.
This has led to a significant increase in vehicular traffic in the metropolis, especially in its central business district (CBD), where most of the administrative and commercial facilities are located.
Municipal authorities have adopted temporary parking solutions by converting parts of streets into parking areas for a fee but those are still not sufficient.
Besides, this has taken space from the already narrow streets, increasing congestion in the CBD and creating challenges for both drivers and pedestrians.
The mayor said the municipal authorities were ready to provide potential investors full support to create car parks to resolve these challenges or achieve that through public- private partnership.
Why the need for such a facility
The increase in traffic will be further escalated by the expected population growth, both in Kumasi and in the region in general.
With a growth rate of 2.7 per cent, the Ashanti Region is the third fastest growing region in Ghana. It is expected that by 2015 the population of the Kumasi Metropolis will approach 2.75 million; that of the Ashanti Region is expected to exceed 6 million.
Mr Bonsu said the KMA had land available in prime areas in the city centre that could be used as equities in a public-private partnership arrangement.
According to him, the city will welcome the development of one or more multi-purpose car parks to ease the traffic problem and generate revenue.
The project, he said, could be under a public-private partnership, "the investor may request additional support from the local authority. Local institutions and companies can provide input as well as building materials and hardware, construction equipment, and architectural and other and other services".
"Though the KMA does not have a land bank, some landowners who hold large tracts of land are willing and ready to lease to investors," he said.
Kumasi is growing at a faster rate than Accra but there is less competition in its real estates market.
He said the Ashanti Region had recently experienced a considerable increase in investment, and Kumasi's beautiful layout and greenery, central location and relatively low crime rate "make it an attractive place to live. Many people migrate here in part for the quality of life".
Besides these, he said, a number of institutions and companies provide input and offer services in the real estates sector. Raw materials and equipment such as heavy-duty machines are available for hire or purchase.
Landowners will lease land to real estates investors and the land acquisition process has been streamlined. Deed registration has been reduced from 36 months to two months. The time needed to register deeds of sale has been cut from 135 days to 34 and further reductions are expected.
All these are to position the metropolis as the preferred destination for investors in the country.
Source: Daily Graphic