Accra, Aug. 8, GNA – Professor Kofi Awoonor, Chairman, Council of State, on Monday lauded efforts to transform Accra to march some of the prominent cities in the world and called for the support of the public to make it succeed.
“Our commitment to Accra is a commitment to our nation and failing to achieve that would mean that we have undermined our country,” he said when he launched the Accra Investment Forum.
It is on the theme, “Developing Accra for the 21st Century, Challenges and Opportunities.”
The AMA would host the investment forum in New York from October 24 -26 to showcase Accra as the most dynamic investment city in Africa.
Stimulating economic growth at the local level was crucial and this called for an enabling environment, private-public cooperation for improved service delivery, Prof. Awoonor said.
He lauded the abolition of the shift system, decongestion exercises and some ongoing infrastructural development in the city but said problems such as indiscipline, school drop-out and indiscriminate construction of buildings should be seriously tackled.
The Mayor of Accra, Mr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, stated that the Accra Millennium City initiative was endowed with abundant potential and opportunities and the AMA was prepared to partner with local and foreign businesses to provide a wide range of services towards the development of the capital.
He explained that business opportunities existed in areas such as provision of housing, school infrastructure, waste management, road construction, health facilities and economic empowerment of the people.
“Accra is no longer just a gateway, it is a destination,” he said, adding, the AMA would work with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ministries of Trade and Industry; Culture and Chieftaincy Affairs; Tourism; Finance and Economic Planning and the Bank of Ghana in planning the forum in New York. He extended invitations to the business community to join the forum as sponsors or presenters.
As a prelude to the October forum, AMA would host another investment forum in Accra on September 28 at which the Earth Institute at Columbia University would unveil their development plans for Ga Mashie and Nima to local stakeholders as well as specific projects that would be showcased at the New York forum.
He threw a challenge to financial institutions to take advantage of the opportunity and join hands with District Assemblies in the development of the communities.
“My dream is to see the day in Accra when challenges of electricity and water would be a thing of the past; where there would be an effective road system where dust does not accompany the flow of traffic; where potholes do not attend to the wheels of our vehicles and when the lives of our people would have been improved because we did something about them.”
Trade and Industry Minister, Ms Hanna Tetteh, said Accra was not just the capital but the nerve centre of the country which should stand out adding, there was a lot to be done to make the centre work efficiently.
She also called for public-private partnership and asked the AMA to establish an office for the partnership adding, Ghanaians should rise to the challenge in the transformation of the capital.
Mr Japhet Ayiku, Special Advisor to the Earth Institute, said the Accra Investment Forum in New York City was the capstone of a greater public private co-operation and partnership.
“In New York, we are working with the likes of the Corporate Council on Africa and the Business Council for International Understanding to reach out to the Wall Street Investor Community, the African American community, the Ghanaian community and the other Africans in the Diaspora who have heard about, and are interested in Ghana, for them to attend the Forum.”
He said for those local businesses and enterprises who would sign on to go to the Forum in New York, they would get the unique opportunity to present the ideas and specific projects to some of the world’s largest and most powerful investment houses as well as private investors who had a great deal of interest in Africa and in Ghana in particular.
The financial sector would also get the chance to seek infusion of new capital to increase their lending capacity and other investment activities.
Mr Humphrey Ayim-Darke, Greater Accra Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries, called for broad consultation with the private sector in the AMA’s quest to transform the city.
The Millennium City Initiative is the urban equivalent of the Millennium Villages, both sharing the objective of assisting selected locations to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Earth Institute at Columbia University aim to target important environmental and urban challenges, an initiative directed by the renowned Economist Jeffrey Sachs which encourages private sector involvement in achieving the MDGs.