Professor Peter Quartey, Director, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, has called on authorities to decentralise employment opportunities to reduce rural-urban migration in the country.
That, the Professor stated, would expand the country’s resources to meet the growing population, especially in the urban area for sustainable growth.
He said population growth came with demand for infrastructural development especially in Accra, and that the need to decentralise resources would help address the inequality gap in the country.
Prof Quartey said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on the effects of Accra being the populous region in the country.
The Ghana Statistical Service in September 2021, said the country’s provisional population is now 30.8 million, showing an increase of 6.1 million people from the 2010 population figures, which stood at 24.6 million.
Greater Accra, according to the 2021 Census is now the most populous region in the country with 5,446,237 figures, followed by Ashanti region with 5,432,485 population.
Greater Accra Region is becoming overpopulated as a result of high level of in-migration from other regions and immigration from neighbouring countries.
With Accra being the most populous region in the country, the Professor said urban poverty would be hasher compared to rural poverty in terms of condition of living.
He explained that, “In the rural areas, you can find somewhere to lay your head and have something to eat because of abundance of food but in Accra it will be difficult to survive and find a place to sleep.”
“When conditions are getting worse, the poor tend to suffer more and when things improve, the rich gain more than the poor,” he added.
Prof Quartey said the Government’s initiative of One district One Factory was a good concept and must be prioritised and implemented to optimise the needed outcome and reduce the rural-urban migration.
The creation of more regions, he stated, was one way to decentralise the country’s administrative units across so that resources are distributed equally.
He called on the authorities to provide employment opportunities for the rural communities, empower and educate them on the risks associated with migration to the city, since such movement put more pressure on the country’s limited resources.
Dr Leticia Appiah, the Executive Director, National Population Council, said the figures on the urban population must stimulate authorities to take actions on the reasons behind the movement and adopt workable solutions to curtail the phenomenon.
“For instance, if a market is sited at a place where there is no bank or hospital, the market in itself will not draw people there, so there should be a conscious urban or rural planning to have a collection of all the essential services located in those places to attract people there,” she said.
Dr Appiah said the country must strategize its approach on managing urbanization to ensure that growth was accompanied by better productivity and inclusion to improve the lives of all citizens.