Overpopulation in Accra affects development – Senior Economist


Mr. Habibu Adam, an economist, said the Greater Accra Region being the smallest by land mass in Ghana, has overtaken Ashanti as the most populous region for the first time since 1970, as revealed by the 2021 Population and Housing Census.

He said this had made Greater-Accra region an area with the largest population density of about 1,236 persons per square kilometre as compared with 14 persons per square kilometre in a region such as the Savannah region.

Mr. Adam said this when he appeared on the Ghana News Agency, Tema Office’s Industrial News Hub Boardroom Dialogue, to interact with staff on the 2022 budget to be presented to Parliament on November 17, 2021.

He said the Greater Accra region had also recorded the highest number of both residential and non-residential structures.

The Senior Economist who works at the office of the Senior Presidential Advisor, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, stated that although six regions namely North East, Savannah, Ahafo, Upper West, Oti, and Upper East have bigger land mass than Greater Accra, the number of structures in Greater Accra was greater than all the structures in these six regions put together.

Mr. Adam who is also a member of the Technical Advisory Team at the Office of Senior Presidential Advisor, noted that the rising congestions in Ghana’s capital city was responsible for the serious challenges in areas such as high cost of living, health implications, perennial flooding among others.

He explained that these challenges were causing huge economic cost to the state as a result.

Commenting on the heavy traffic situation in Accra, he said it was unbearable with some people spending over six hours just trying to get in and out of traffic to and from work.

He established that, the bad traffic situation had a huge effect on the fuel import bill, efficiency at work and health, adding that, “because of that people get to work already tired from several hours of traffic.

“They get home and have less time to rest before going back to work the next day, this has a huge toll on their health”.

Making reference to the 2021 PHC, he bemoaned the impending health crises in Greater Accra as a result of worsening population density in the region.

He said data on COVID-19 cases from March, 2020 to October, 2021 showed that the two most populous regions (Accra and Kumasi) had 72.18 per cent of all reported cases. Accra alone had 56.1 per cent while Kumasi had 16.12 per cent of all reported COVID-19 cases.

“In the same manner in 2014/2015 cholera outbreak, out of the 28,922 cases reported, Accra alone recorded 15,034 representing 52 per cent of the cases with 15 out of the 16 districts of Greater Accra affected,” he lamented.

Mr. Adam revealed that the region lacked recreational parks for citizens to exercise and distress, which necessitated the rising obesity in children as well as coronary complications in adults.

“All these have negative effect on our human resource and health budgets,” he added.

The Economist added that Accra was currently a flood prone area due to the indiscriminate and indiscipline building practices, adding that with little rains for few hours, most areas were flooded including the highways and other major roads.

Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager, Ghana News Agency, said the Industrial News Hub Board Room dialogue on the budget was to offer the Senior Economist opportunity to throw light on the economy.

He said “as journalists we need to be well informed on issues, before we can effectively educate the public”.

Mr. Ameyibor added that as the fourth estate of the realm, there was the need for GNA-Tema office to help the public to reach out to government and people in authority with their issues, while bringing the understanding of government’s policy to the people.

He said to this end, the office had initiated a number of flagship programmes including the boardroom dialogue to provide the platform for state and non-state actors to interact and discuss national issues.

Mr. Ameyibor announced that the GNA Tema dubbed the Industrial News Hub was to introduce two other programmes namely; “My Constituency My Agenda”, and “My District My Agenda” to respectively give opportunity to Members of Parliament and other politicians, as well as the various district assemblies and their chief executives, coordinating directors and departmental heads to talk about their activities.

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