One of the aims of Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration is to overtake current cleanest urbanities Cape Town and Kigali to become the cleanest city on the African continent. The World Bank has pledged $570 million to Ghana which will, in part, will help to make dream a reality. It is has been confirmed that $557 million of the total funds will be in the form of credits while variousgrants will account for the remaining $13 million. The President’s promise to clean Accra up dates back to 2017 as city authorities were battling to deal with the escalating sanitation crises in the capital.
Despite the apparent sincerity of the President, many misgivings were expressed pertaining to viability of the plan, especially considering that there is a common belief that the current government will come to an end at the end of 2020 when the next general elections are held. Towards the end of January Current Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah, established a Special Task Force on Environmental Sanitation that will work hand-in-hand with the Ministry to help the President reach his vision.
The city has a dirty history
Accra has had a reputation for being dirty for quite some time already. In 2014 it was reported how local residents petitioned the Mayor due to the serious public health risks imposed by uncollected rubbish. Although the government had a contractual agreement with city waste collectors to remove the garbage, it was not able to settle its debt of nearly $5 million which accumulated over a period of two years. Fast-forward to 2018 and the World Health Organisation (WHO) proclaims Accra to be one of the most polluted cities in the world with a sky-high air pollution reading of 86.11%. At the time, Sanitation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda came under fire over the crisis the city was facing but maintained that it takes a considerable amount of time to keep Ghana clean.
Multiple projects will benefit
Among the projects that will be financed by the funds is the Greater Accra and Integrated Development initiative (GARID) which is a $200 million transformative urban project which aims to improve both flood risk and solid waste management in the Greater Accra Region. A further $150 million has been allocated to the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes project that is aimed at improving the quality of education offered at basic education institutions that have a poor performance record. The Ghana Economic Transformation Project, whose purpose it is to promote growth and private investment in sectors of the Ghanaian economy that is non-resource-based. The final project to benefit from the funding is the Ghana Forest Investment Programme’s Enhancing Natural Forest and Agroforest Landscapes Project which will receive $12.4 million.
World Bank reiterates their commitment
The World Bank reiterated that the chosen projects all align very well with the government’s priorities pertaining to enhanced resilience and an improved private sector space. During a signing ceremony between the Bank and Ghana’s Minister of Finance, World Bank Country Director Pierre Laporte exclaimed that his organization is committed to reinforcing the relationship from that point forward. He was quoted as saying: “We will work with you hand-in-hand to ensure that these projects, as well as others already ongoing, are implemented timely and effectively.” He continued that the move will have a hugely positive impact on the people, institutions, and communities of the greater Accra area. He concluded his speech by saying: “One important aspect of the implementation process is feedback from beneficiaries. Implementing entities, thus, need to ensure there are functional grievance redress mechanisms and strong citizens’ engagement for all projects as they contribute to effective, efficient and sustainable delivery and outcomes.”
Despite its somewhat dubious history with regards to sanitation, Accra can very well become the cleanest city on the African continent thanks to the fund injection from the World Bank. As long as both policymakers and the general public work together towards the goal, it will remain attainable.
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Accra Set to Become Cleanest City in Africa