SMEs Shaping The Future In CSR

Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are important drivers of growth in economies across Sub Saharan Africa, accounting for up to 90% of all businesses in these markets.

They are the vehicles for employment, job creation and key to the regions entrepreneurial environmental needs. Innovative progressive development in Africa would not have happen without them, Socio-economic paradigm shifts would not have happen without them, they have produce middle class in Africa and thus their unique developmental enterprise role.

Associating Corporate social responsibility (CSR) with big companies giving their beautiful huge size, high profit turn over and their well known public image is not a bad thing but CSR is very critical for small and medium-sized enterprises as well (SMEs are organizations of up to 1,000 employees).

CSR is not only about treating all stakeholders responsibly or ethically but also going beyond the minimum legal requirement and obligation stemming from collective agreement in order to address societal needs. This recent definition shows that CSR is not philanthropy.

License to operate, improved risk management, reduce cost from efficient improved ways, new innovative business opportunities, good corporate brand and improve trust with key stakeholders either employees, customers, the government, suppliers and investors are just few of the numerous benefits CSR gives to a company.

I know you will be wondering is this not expensive and time consuming for SME’s to do? Since most of the SME’s founders intention is to make money. Well one nut cannot always spoil the soup and thanks to globalization there are new founders who have desire to meet societal needs in mind and since they are the key drivers commitment to purpose is much easier to engender than big companies. And this makes them more socially responsible than their much larger counterparts.

Personal touch being concern is very important and this can be found only in the SME’s since they know each other and they are few in number flow of information is very effective. They involve employees in key decision making which makes them feel part of the company, give them better flexible working hours and a relax atmosphere to work which makes them like a big family which most large companies does not offer.

SMEs does not only attract the best talent it also grows and bring out the best in even weak staff which make their existence important especially since most of the best innovative product are now coming from SME’s. Since mostly motivation leads to creative and innovation employees are able to offer their best when their leaders empowers them. I will like to end my these with the Michael Hopkins’ definition of CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility is concerned with treating the stakeholders of a company or institution ethically or in a responsible manner. ‘Ethically or responsible’ means treating key stakeholders in a manner deemed acceptable according to international norms.

Social includes economic and environmental responsibility. Stakeholders exist both within a firm and outside.

The wider aim of social responsibility is to create higher and higher standards of living, while preserving the profitability of the corporation or the integrity of the institution, for peoples both within and outside these entities.

Reference:

http://mhcinternational.com/articles/definition-of-csr

Michael Hopkins (MHCi): A Planetary Bargain: Corporate Social Responsibility Comes of Age (Macmillan, UK, 1998).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amb-robin-renee-sanders/importance-of-sme-develop_b_888407.html

 


Effectiveness of Renewable Energy to Reduce Emission

 

The purpose of the European Union is to get 20% of its energy from renewables by 2020 either by Biomass, geothermal energy, tidal power, solar,hydro-electric or wind. Increase of renewables  energy will make the European Union reduce their dependency on imported oil and also cut down on green house emissions which in doing so will help boost the renewables industry, create jobs for members states and also promote innovation.

Many scientists now agree that climate change is caused by an increase of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere. The emergence of climate change as a critical energy and environmental policy issue has also serious awareness that ignition of green house gas emitting fuels necessitate risk for the planet.

Recent incidents and events around the world have once again put energy security and most especially oil import dependence countries on top of alert on what option they should look out for. Renewable can be a solution to either displacing oil use in transportation or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission per litre of fuel consumed.

Recent improvement in technology and policy will allow renewable energy and energy efficiency to play a key role in helping world energy demand while assisting in reducing the carbon dioxide emissions. Renewable energy have rapidly scale new height not only that but they can achieve far greater emissions reductions.

Efficiency and renewable goes hand in hand and it a key ingredient which we can use to address pressing challenges that the world faces today. Being it political will or effective policies can get the world back on track to help mitigate climate change in the near term while meeting rising world demand for energy for either developed or undeveloped countries in terms of price, reducing energy security concern, human health and improving the natural environment.

Moving towards sustainable energy system will require strong political will and sustained policies but can such retirement be accomplished on time looking at the danger of the climate change?

For the world to shun from any catastrophic climate change and an insecure economic future, the transition already under way must pick up the pace. Success stories must be scaled up, and approaches or better strategies must be shared across national boundaries.

Since rules and policies are meant to ensure the smooth operation of every sector research has also shown that policies are more successful if they well implemented. Consistency of every policy is critical for guarantying permanent market growth and also helping in reducing the risk in investing new technology and it also make it easy for obtaining capital for financing the project. In doing so I believe that consistence in policies which include a package of policy mechanism on the side of the government will help in achieving this goal since other government around the world have achieved it. If elimination of fossil fuel subsidies can not solve the issue can we look at the below option

Put a price on carbon that increases over time, the best way to do this is to increase the price of fossil fuel more frequently which will help in the smooth operation of the process or another way is to set a cap trade strategy. A good example is what the Demark did in the early 1990s, which up to date has really helped them achieve their target in this sector.

 

References:

http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/report/IPCC_SRREN_Ch02.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/package/

http://www.energyfuturecoalition.org/biofuels/benefits_env_public_health.htm

 


When a Solution Meets a Need


We have always had social entrepreneurs among us even though they were not called by that name, many things we see around us today were done by them. The importance of its new name can been seem from their innovation. They create and solve significant social needs and bring out lasting innovation that satisfies a need.

Social Entrepreneurs solve problems that their solution is designed to address, they are reformers and revolutionaries with a social purpose as described by Schumpeter. They reduce needs rather then just meeting them and create systemic procedures in changing it, which in a way makes them pioneers for commercial entrepreneurs to follow. As a result social entrepreneurs are more analytical in the sense that they try to understand social, economic, political and cultural context of an issue or problem they are trying to solve then a traditional business person.

Even though making profit and creating wealth is good social entrepreneur looks for lasting sustainable impact rather then ripping of people without value or impact to the field that they are operating. They believe tackling the problem from its roots rather then just giving it temporary treatment.

Another interesting facts about social entrepreneurs is that even though they are very innovative not all of them come out with new invention but rather they improve on what others have created with their creativity, and the one vital key about them also have to do with their acceptance for defeat. They see failure as a process for improvement and not a destiny of disaster, and because they are long time learners they try to be academically honest about what they learn.

Social entrepreneurs are one special breed of leader, and they should be recognized as such. This definition preserves their distinctive status and assures that social entrepreneurship is not treated lightly. We need social entrepreneurs to help us find new avenues toward social improvement as we enter the next century.

I will like to conclude my points with the summary of Dees on who social entrepreneur is

  1. Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector, by
  2. Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value);
  3. Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission.
  4. Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning;
  5. Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created.

Reference:

http://www.caseatduke.org/documents/dees_sedef.pdf

http://www.theclinegroup.com/2014/02/12/importance-social-entrepreneurship/

 


Re- Possible Business Etiquettes in China.

 

My earlier post and expectations all disappeared when I got to China. What a great positive shock. Indeed you need to live in a place before you can comment or say something about it. The large size of their beautiful airport, the high skyscrapers, modern super market, new efficient train stations and lovely traditional gardens are the woa memories I have about both Shanghai and Beijing. Even though my trip was very short these are the things that I learnt at Jiao Tong University and the companies I visited in China.

Joint Venture: The best way to known and also grow as a business is through joint venture if you are small or even a big company since that is very easy for you to penetrate through the market, and saves you a lot of hassle with the registration of your company

Marketing It is very important for you to research into the Chinese market before you start selling to them. The first thing you need to do is to adapt to their needs and wants, and know what scope of the market you want to cover since it is a very big market and their taste for foreign quality brands is high. 

Guanxi : It more then connections, It about creating a long term good relationship with your Chinese partner so that they can opens door for you in terms of need and you can not get Guanxi in a day, you need to develop contacts, attend social gatherings and be kind to them, be it festivals or not. The higher your Guanaxi the higher your business opportunities, access to key information and smooth operation of your business.

Mianzi. It represents your image, reputation, prestige either within the society, work place or among your friends. You can gain face if you drive expense car or give out expense gifts to your friend since luxury goods are all connected to face. You can also gain face if you able to accomplish something through your personal contacts that others cannot accomplish through their contacts, Another amazing factor which is very important for you is never to do is talk about your business partners either in the public or private places since this can make you lose face and it can cause harm to your business or your relationship with other people as well.

Trust – It is very difficult for a Chinese person to open up to you if they do not know much about you, they study people for a very long time before they can open up to them. As public companies are different from private companies so I was not that surprise when we invited Baosteel the “World’s Most Admired Company”. According to Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, 116,702 employees, a company that enjoys the highest credit rating in the global iron and steel industry yet information was very difficulty to be accessed and in all this process what kept coming to my mind is they do not know much about us before they can be comfortable to relay information to us.

Counterfeits: Trademark and product counterfeits is a major problem for many foreign brands and local brand as well. Many brands yearly losses billions of dollars and it also cause serious harm to their reputations of brand due to this problem but there is a lot of pressure from internally and international community to put stop to this problem the good news is that there is a law out to put stop to this it but since part implementation is not easy I do not think counterfeits is over in China.

It was a great experience in terms of cultural diversity and learning, to sum it all China is not a country is a continents with great positive and dangerous oppournities at the same time.

 


Possible Business Etiquettes in China


Saturday the 1st of March, 2014 will be my first time that my golden legs will touch the fastest growing economy in the world called China. China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

There are a lot of things I expect to see in china because of what I have heard from friends who have visited there. I have read a lot about them in the media too. Respect for people’s country and culture is upheld very much there. I expect to take advantage of their friendly nature to create a long term business relationship with my contacts there.

Food is an important part of every society and it is at lunch and dinner that most business discussions take place. I will try as much I can to eat a little of everything on my table. I will probably be asking my host to order more food so our discussion can be prolong for both parties to leave the table satisfactory. It will be a win-win affair at the end of the day.  Am prepared for many toast to future cooperation and will make at least one toast during my meal, I will also try and clink my glass to the bottom of theirs as a sign of respect.

Business care: it is a beginning of a business relationship and also an opportunity for me to show my desire to start a business relationship with them and since it is most highly recommendable in China to accept business cards with your both hands and hold it very firmly so that the receiver has to rip it out of your hands. I am going to play along respectful as the rule or the protocol demands.

Language is very important in every aspect of our life. In Madrid for this few months has shown me that hola is not enough to take you to every where but I will try and learn few sentences not only to impress them but may be will have an impact on them there since I cannot take translator with me all the time.

Smiling is not a weakness and smiling to a Chinese is like a handshake among the westerners. It is the most common way of communication when people meet. Ghanaians expect fixed eye contact when having a discussion with you but on the contrary because of the authoritarian nature of the Chinese society I learnt eye contact is view as a gesture of challenge, which I will not do in China

Until I got to Spain I never knew I speak very fast and since it is very hard for non -English speakers to understand me I am going to slow down when am talking to a China since they do not like people repeating words after them and it is considered us impolite.

Last but not the least I have never smoke before but since Chinese consider smoking as a normal thing to do in most business environment, I will tolerate  them to smoke so that they can listen to me longer. Am going to adapt and learn and more about  the Chinese business customs. Am more then excited to see CHINA

Reference:

http://www.astm.org/BusLink/BusLinkA01/Chan.html

 


Great Women in Farming

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”
― Joseph Conrad

Farming has been the preserve of men with majority of women working as farm hands assisting with farm work. However, the 20th century has seen woman managing sizeable acres of farmland.

Many women in farming grow up in villages, live in huts have no or little education. However, being trained in the use of vaccines, fertilizers have empowered them in their farming activities.

 

Research has shown that income earned by women goes directly to support the family, purchase groceries, fund education and health care. Income also provides a sense of independence and well-being for the women. Today, villagers in some of the most deprived areas are financially secure which sustains dairy production.

Women in Farming – Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, an FAO project which was aimed at resourcing women farmers raised the capacity of thousands of smallholders’ farmers to produce milk. This has led to the establishment of viable and functional dairy enterprises, contributing to improved family nutrition, food security, and income and employment generation. In the vast majority of cases, that benefits the household.

Afghanistan has witnessed 20 years of war and civil unrest. Yet today, some 28 000 chicken coops, constructed by the women who participated in the two projects, provide visible confirmation of the FAO projects’ importance to village women across Afghanistan. During the three years of the first project, participants produced 106 metric tonnes of poultry meat and 21 million eggs, out of which only 7.5 million were consumed by their families. The project affords the women the chance to meet their neighbours, discuss other common family issues, to socialize and to learn about poultry production

Thus, the projects had the added benefit of increasing women’s knowledge of family nutrition, hygiene and health issues. Therefore should all women in farming villages or towns receive these opportunities being given by the FAO, there will be an improvement in their standard of living.

Challenges

Women in farming also encounter impediments which negatively affect their productivity and well being. There is the Lack of funds and the lack of knowledge on how to increase yield and sales. In Burkina Faso although mostly women are involved in millet production, they cannot access the mills and do not receive revenue from the selling of millet. Thus, they are dependent on resources from their spouses.

Celebrating Women in Farming

International Women’s Day on March 8 provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of rural women in farming around the world., said rural women produce half the world’s food, and account for between 60 to 80 percent of the food in most developing countries. She said the global food crisis could be overcome more quickly if food production and trading systems recognized the value of family farms, and especially the labour of women. “She said. “The chronic loss of farmers around the world is one symptom of a global food crisis.”

Conclusion

There are questions about high-input, industrial model of agriculture with its dependence on exports. A wave of change is happening across the world in the form of a “local food” movement, with women leading the way. This is focused on food production that supports environmental sustainability, food quality and safety, and economic fairness in the marketplace.

Reference:

http://viacampesina.org/en/index.php/main-issues-mainmenu-27/women-mainmenu-39

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/english/fsheets/women.pdf

http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/about/issues/gender

 


Illegal Mining and the Environment – Ghana

“There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls,

Doing more murder in this loathsome world,

Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.”

– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Adorning oneself with jewelry especially gold has been consistent across religions, cultures, class and gender. Unquestionably humans have a need for jewelry, but what precisely is this need?

Jewelry has served as a store of value to be converted to cash in times of need.Many individuals, institutions and countries across the world hold investments in gold bullion as financial backing.

Mining involves the activity, occupation and industry concerned with the extraction of minerals from the earth.

From electronic manufacturing companies to dental rooms gold and other precious metals are being used for various purposes. Gold has a positive impact on a nation’s GDP and it also create job opportunities for the community.In Ghana,the Mining industry accounts for 5% of the country’s GDP and minerals takes up 37% of the total export with gold accounting for 90% of the mineral export. Ghana is the second largest gold producer in Africa.

Notwithstanding the fact that the mining sector contributes to government revenue it also has serious negative impact on the environment and to miners.

The illegal mining sector in Ghana is plagued by several environmental and health problems. Several accidents have occurred and in some cases this has led to fatalities in the mines. In April 2013, at least 17 people were killed while mining illegally at a disused gold mine in Ghana’s central region. The ground caved in on the miners as they searched for gold deposits.

Another serious impact is the health hazards as a result of pollution from gases, noise, dust and polluted water.

Coal mines release methane which can pollute the air.Sulphuric acid are utilized in the mining operations which drain into the water bodies, and adversely affect ground water

The movements of rock in the case of surface mining impact the land negatively. Craters are left in the areas where mining activities took place, destroying landscape and lush vegetation in the process.Deforestation is resulting in changes in the ecosystem which includes increasing the levels of Carbon Dioxide in the air.

Leakage of Chemicals into the environment adversely affects the health of the local population, if not controlled.

In summary mining has a negative impact on the environment including erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water.

References

1.http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/61819/jewelry/why_do_we_need_jewelry_a_psycho_anthropological_perspective.html

2. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/gold

3. http://www.oecd.org/env/1830307.pdf

4. http://geology.com/minerals/gold/uses-of-gold.shtml

5.http://images.google.com

7. http://www.sellgoldhq.com/industrial-uses-for-gold/

8. www.dailygrahic.com.gh

 

 

 


The Negative Side of Chemical Fertilizer and Soil Life

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. Dalai Lama

Soil is made up of three main components – minerals that come from rocks below or nearby, organic matter, which is the remains of plants, and animals that use the soil, and the living organisms that reside in the soil. The level of each proportion is very important to soil. However factors such as human activities, climate and vegetation are also important in influencing how soil is formed and the types of soil that occur in a particular landscape.

Soil is considered the skin of the earth. It contains most of the earth’s genetic diversity. A handful of soil can contain billions of organisms, belonging to thousands of species.

Since nutrients are very important for food production, all crops need nutrients to grow. A good portion of these nutrients are removed and exported when crops are harvested. A Good harvest depends on a soil rich in nutrients.  Nutrient need to replaced  by applying fertilizers or manures to enrich the soil.

Plants nutrients are divided into two types which are macronutrients and micronutrients. Plants normally require macronutrient in large quantities. Chemical Fertilizers are usually added to agricultural soil to increase crop yields and also to ensure the yields are very attractive.

Chemical fertilizers normally come in granular, liquid or gaseous state and chemical components include Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus and (P) Potassium (K) NPK.

Plants use nitrates from the soil to satisfy nutritional requirements of plants by building up leaves and stems. Nitrate can however leach into groundwater. Nitrates form when microorganisms break down fertilizers, decaying plants . Irrigation or rain can leach them into the groundwater.

Phosphorus (P) is a macronutrient that is usually required by crops in large amounts and is finite, irreplaceable and unique among fertilizer requirements. . Plants use P for energy transfer. Soil normally holds this very strongly by precipitation and adsorption reaction and most are stable in organic forms. They also play a key role in human body since they are part of DNA.

Potassium (K) is considered a quality nutrient and is second only to nitrogen. It helps the plant size, color and taste so is very essential for plant nutrition. It also helps in regulating water in the soil to the plant and in human beings supports nerves to function well.

Notwithstanding the positive effect NPK has on the soil and plants, there is a significant health effect to the soil and to humans. If humans or animals drink water high in nitrate, it may cause methemoglobinemia, an illness found infants.

It can also cause the thyroid gland to decrease it function, which leads to shortage in vitamin A intake. A high percentage in the body leads to cancer, and nitrogen compounds can cause the oxygen transport to the blood to decrease.

Aside the benefits Phosphorus provides to the soil, Sandy soils generally have the highest risk of P leaching due to their low water holding capacity and rapid rate of water infiltration and percolation. A diet high in phosporus leads to kidney damage and osteoporosis. Phosphorus can remain in the soil and water for thousands of years.

High concentrations of potassium can suppress plant growth and cause the kidney malfunction in human’s. High exposure will lead to a build up of fluid in the lungs and Contact to the eye can lead to permanent eye damage.

In conclusion, the demand of chemical fertilisers in food production is aimed at satisfying nutritional demands by the populace. On the other hand chemicals fertilisers destroy the properties of the soil, and harmful to humans.

 

Reference:

1.http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/dalailama132938.html#LiSDi0THBJKtSujF.99

2. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/00517.html

3.http://passel.unl.edu/pages/informationmodule.php

4. http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/n.htm

5. http://www.soils.wisc.edu/extension/wcmc/proceedings/2A.barak.pdf

6. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111106151314.htm

 


Ghana Education System – Computerized School Selection and Placement System

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin.

As a young African Woman I see education as the only connecting thread that can carry African to greatness, since without it you cannot contribute to your world positively. You can only go a mile further if only you have knowledge in the field you are in, and education is the only way to gain that.

In my view education creates opportunities for sustainable and viable economic growth now and into the future and it also helps people to work better, happy and appreciate diversity.

In every year more than 370,000 school children in Ghana write the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Although the abolition of school fees and the provision of subsidies have really helped Ghanaian children, more than 40% of these children stay at home without going to senior high school or learning any vocation, after going through nine years of a compulsory system (ninth grade). Almost all the pupils who get to high school do so as a result of the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), which was, introduced in 2005 after two years of working to ensure smooth operations.

The CSSPS is a system used by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to place qualified BECE candidates into Senior High School (SHS)/ Technical Institutes (TI)/ Vocational Institute.

The CSSPS, though embattled with many challenges seem to have instilled some level of sanity, fairness and ease into the admission of students into the selection of schools. It has also brought about improvements in certain hitherto dilapidated schools due to the fact that, some of the student whose parents happen to be influential people have risen to the occasion by speaking and gathering resources to make those schools in which their children are much better.  It has also, to some degree wiped out the rot of bribery in the admission process. Its functions have become a whistle blowing activity that alerts the government about the state of most of Ghana’s second cycle institutions and the need to improve infrastructure in every school.  It has also brought in the virtue of merit in the selection of students into certain school and has indirectly influenced the drive of students, school authorities and parents to provide conducive environments and material for the studies of their wards. It has promoted regional integration by enabling candidates to choose schools from any of the ten regions within the country. It ensures a more efficient and effective use of human and scarce financial resources of GES.

The CSSPS system has many challenges as computer errors are bound to happen irrespective of how one does data validation since systems can never be 100% accurate. Sometimes, for example, male’s students are posted to girl’s schools and vice versa. The Chronicle newspaper also indicates that some staff at the CSSPS Secretariat were manipulating the system to serve their interests by taking money from parents as a bribe, so that their wards were posted to schools of their own choice. Also many people are rejected by the computerized system.

To address these problems, the Ghana Education Service recently came out with a BECE re-sit examination policy which would serve as an opportunity for those who could not pass certain subjects and therefore were not selected for any school by the computer system. The government should also build more schools to ensure that all students get admission when their results comes out or offer them the chance to learn new skills while they prepare themselves for re-sits. Doing this will help to reduce social problems.

The system has not only brought about good governance but it put an end to anxiety, frustrations and confusion that qualify candidates were going through due to delays in the placement of such candidates, also to the benefits of the schools it has also help in ensuring that schools do not take more than their limits in order to hence good learning environment.

Difficulty in handling large numbers of qualified students as the number of registered candidates increased every year is now a thing of the past.

Again the system has made it easy access to placement results through SMS where a candidate only texts the candidates ID and instantly receives a reply on his/her placement status indicating the secondary school where he/she was placed and the program.

The environment in which students live, learn and the ways in which people work and live are constantly being transformed by existing and emerging technologies. The CSSPS systems is a clear example of how technology can support student performance, positive attitudes and motivation to create meaningful learning and the acquisition of basics skills and knowledge.

References

1. http://www.ges.gov.gh/?q=content/cssps

2. http://www.globalpartnership.org/our-work/areas-of-focus/conflict-affected-and-fragile-states/

3. http://www.slideshare.net/emjoau/the-importance-of-technology-in-education

4. http://www.ghananewsagency.org/education/ges-council-calls-on-parents-not-to-interfere-in-shs-selection–32855

5. http://www.siscogh.com

 

 

 

 


 


Importance of Town Planning System in Ghana

There are fashions in building. Behind the fashions lie economic and technological reasons, and these fashions exclude all but a few genuinely different possibilities in city dwelling construction at any one time.”

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

World Town Planning day, was founded in 1949 by the late Professor Carlos Maria Della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires, a graduate at the Institut d’urbanisme in Paris, to advance public and professional interest in planning. It is celebrated in more than 30 countries on four continents, each November 8th, of which Ghana  too, takes part in.

Nevertheless, Ghana is still struggling to develop its planning vision to create livable communities, because a lot of its people live in informal areas like the slums or zongos. The rapid growth of these slums and informal towns have put stress on individuals to provide their own services such as energy, education, health care, transportation, sanitation and physical security. Because governments have less revenues to spend on the basic upkeep of these slums and the provision of services, slums have become areas of massive concern, serious environmental problems, widespread poverty and disease.

Accra, the Capital of Ghana, is among the fastest growing cities in Africa with a growth rate of 4% yearly, while other developed cities are growing by 2%. The population of Ghana is 25.37 Million as of 2012. Ghana has a good stable political system and is the gateway to Africa.  Lets take a closer look at the statistics of Accra:

-Population of Accra is 4,010,054 as of 2012

– Area: 185km²

– CO2 emission per inhabitant:0,4 tn

– Divided into 11 sub-metropolitan areas

Poor sanitation costs Ghana US$290 million each year –representing 1.6% of National Gross Domestic Product. US$54 million is spent each year on health care, treating diarrhoea and its consequences for other diseases like respiratory infections and malaria.

This problem is caused by the unacceptable lack of proper town country planning policies and practices. Without urgent effective solutions from urban planning and management in Ghana, the Ghana vision to attain middle-class economic status by 2015 may remain solely a dream. Only one university offers a course in town planning out of almost 40 accredited Universities in Ghana, which is Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Most of the Metropolitan areas are not part of the Town Planning Department, and most of the districts do not have town-planning officers.

There is an urgent need for the government and all Ghanaian to join hands together as a team to give adequate support to the town planning officers in order to reform the planning system in Ghana. Town Planning can be divided into two parts; land use management and strategic planning.

Strategic planning is an extensive term plan of what will be happen in the coming years ahead. It is useful for future expansion of whole new towns and for developing or redesigning existing towns. Land use management is applied to evaluate each part of land including zoning, building restrictions, sewerage, water systems.

Importance of Reforming the Town Planning System in Ghana.

The Town planners with support from the government will look at the needs of people and the environment whilst respecting limits to development. The Town Planners will also recognize regional limits to development in order to maintain natural habitats and biodiversity, which is very important to our continued existence.

The Town Planners(TP) will also check the size and appearance of new buildings, and their impact on communities across the country before they are built.

They (TP) will help to increase the government revenue and also create employment for the youth.

They will supervises the construction of buildings in the country and ensure that “translating what is on paper to the ground” will not become a problem and it will also reduce indiscipline on both the house owner and the contractor.

They will also enforce and develop appropriate local government bye-laws; environmental management and waste management rules are obeyed by every citizen.

They will impact knowledge, experience,skills and good planning practices for the country,and also serve as a platform that every building contractor can use as reference.

They will also assign Land use planning- and help in differentiating land for school, market/super market, hospitals, playground/recreational centre and library.

Last but not the least they will also help to develop Street names, since street names are the ultimate manifestation of a cities, politics, culture and ideologies, and they also provide a common language for a city and its inhabitants. They are the meters of change often reflecting dynamic struggles of power within the city limits.

 

Main Sources:

http://www.sustainable.com.au/town-planning.html

http://townplanningjobslondon914.wordpress.com

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255/kat_anna/streetnames.html

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=171746&comment=0#com

http://citifmonline.com/?id=1.1606584

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1289564-the-death-and-life-of-great-american-cities

 



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