Accra is congested, but relocating Ghana’s capital is not the only option

Accra may hold its political position, however a few of its services and providers needs to be distributed across the nation

Capital cities play an vital position within the socio-economic growth of each nation. Individuals typically transfer to cities the place there are alternatives.

Accra, Ghana’s capital, demonstrates this pull impact — and the issues it could possibly create, like congestion and development planning issues.

One of many penalties has been common flooding, which has claimed lives and property. Over time, the town authorities have tried to decongest Accra, with out success. The town is now demolishing illegal structures, particularly these near waterways.

Some individuals have advised that Accra’s congestion drawback could possibly be solved if the capital had been to be moved to a different metropolis. Others disagree.

Our place on this ongoing debate is knowledgeable by a six-year-old study one among us carried out evaluating Accra with Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Nigeria moved its administrative capital out of Lagos to Abuja in 1991.

The purpose of the analysis was to make suggestions for the efficient functioning of capital cities. We consider the findings are nonetheless related.

The examine discovered that Accra was congested as a result of too many services and providers had been concentrated within the metropolis. We conclude that, as an alternative of relocating the capital from Accra, its varied roles could possibly be shared amongst varied regional capitals. Accra may hold its political position, however a few of its services and providers needs to be distributed across the nation.

Accra’s many features

Ghana’s capital metropolis has a number of features: Academic, business, leisure and administrative.

As an educational centre, Accra has about 40 tertiary establishments. The seat of presidency, parliament home and the supreme courtroom of Ghana are additionally in Accra, giving it an administrative and political position. The foremost sporting actions in Ghana are soccer, athletics and boxing. The nation’s solely boxing arenas are in Accra. The town additionally has the Ohene Gyan Sports activities Stadium and the Olympic Stadium (beneath building).

Ghana’s inhabitants by area. Authors

Respected analysis institutes comparable to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Analysis are positioned in Accra. The headquarters of main non secular organisations – such because the Christian Council of Ghana and the Workplace of the Nationwide Chief Imam – are additionally positioned right here.

Some services that would have been positioned in different cities are all concentrated in Accra. Total, the town serves because the nation’s business, manufacturing and communication centre.

This has attracted main personal firms to find their headquarters within the capital. Ghana Inventory Alternate, the nation’s principal facilitator of the event of the capital market, additionally has its headquarters in Accra.

The mixture of its political position and all the opposite services and providers within the metropolis has attracted individuals from all elements of the nation. In line with the 2021 Inhabitants and Housing Census, the Better Accra Area is probably the most populous area in Ghana, with a inhabitants of over 5 million people. The area, with a inhabitants density of 1,200 individuals per sq. kilometer, can also be the most densely populated area in Ghana.

This density has led to visitors congestion and overcrowding. On common, visitors throughout the main highways within the Better Accra Metropolitan Space grew from 2.5% to 14.8% every year.

The multi-functional nature of Accra has led to strain on land sources which has additionally resulted in encroachment of inexperienced areas and wetlands. The result’s that elements of the town are unsafe to reside in. The perennial floods which declare human lives and destroy properties have been attributed to the town’s development and spatial planning problems.


Relocating capital cities doesn’t essentially resolve the issue of congestion in the long run if the elemental causes of the congestion will not be addressed. For instance, the relocation of Nigerian’s capital metropolis to Abuja didn’t resolve congestion in Lagos.

We argue {that a} extra possible choice for Accra is to vary the position of the town from a multi-functional position to a political position.

Nationwide insurance policies ought to concentrate on de-concentration by relocating a few of the services and providers which are presently within the capital however don’t require direct entry to the manager. These might embody the headquarters of some authorities establishments, nongovernmental organisations, universities and analysis institutes, non secular organisations and personal firms.

The relocation of the headquarters of the Ghana Cocoa Board from Accra, for instance, could possibly be considered as Accra shouldn’t be a cocoa producing area. Such an establishment could possibly be moved to a spot the place cocoa is produced.

The headquarters of Ghana Nationwide Petroleum Company could possibly be moved to the western area of Ghana, the place oil is drilled. Universities positioned in Accra could possibly be inspired to ascertain branches in different elements of the nation, thus decreasing the variety of college students on the Accra campuses. This could assist promote spatial fairness in Ghana when it comes to geographic entry to school schooling.

There could possibly be incentive packages for establishments to ascertain their headquarters outdoors the capital. These within the capital could possibly be charged a particular congestion levy. Lastly, there needs to be a acutely aware effort to offer practical roles to all of the 16 regional capitals in Ghana. The practical roles can embody business capital, defence capital, leisure capital and sports activities capital. The decentralisation of services and providers would assist distribute alternatives — and other people — throughout the nation.The Conversation

Stephen Appiah Takyi, Senior Lecturer, Division of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Owusu Amponsah, Senior Lecturer, Division of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

This text is republished from The Conversation beneath a Artistic Commons license. Learn the original article.


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