Poor Urban Communities and Municipal Interface in Ghana: A Case Study of Accra and Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis


  • George Owusu
  • Robert Lawrence Afutu-Kotey


Like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana, is undergoing a rapid pace of urbanization associated with socio-economic, environmental, and institutional challenges for urban residents and local government authorities. Under Ghana’s laws, Metropolitan Assemblies (large city local governments) have overall responsibility for the development of their respective cities. This article explores the poor urban communities—municipal interface based on a study carried out in the largest (Accra) and third largest (Sekondi-Takoradi) cities. The study concludes that mechanisms for engaging poor urban communities are limited largely due to the absence of functional decentralized sub-district structures in these communities. In addition, the indirect attempt by the Metropolitan Assemblies to address infrastructure and service needs of poor urban communities through a public-private partnership centered on privatization (franchising and contracting) and community-based participation in the provision of social services has distanced the Assemblies from poor communities. This situation has reinforced the view that the Assemblies are unresponsive to community needs. The implications of limited community-municipal interface for poor urban communities and urban development in Ghana in general are also explored.