Perspectives Papers | 2022

Unbalanced Investments: Accra’s Informal Settlements

Planning for informal settlements is a challenge in many countries. In the case of Accra, Ghana, even after years of socio-economic development and democratization, there are still significant issues with growing slums that lack basic services and adequate transport infrastructure.

In a new Perspectives paper for the IMFG, Hsi-Chuan Wang examines how the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has invested in informal settlements. Following a discussion of the fiscal relationship between the national and municipal governments, Wang focusses on the distribution of drainage projects across the city as a case study in inequitable investment. He finds that drainage projects have not been deployed in the sub-metros with the most need, highlighting the lack of effective and equitable urban development.

Wang argues that Ghana’s move towards decentralization in 1988 did not help alleviate local pressures that negatively impact informal settlement planning, and that the AMA overlooked the urgency of balanced local development. He suggests local governments in Ghana address these issues now by enhancing their capacity for just governance and strengthening coalitions with other local governments.

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