High Level Meeting of the General Assembly to assess the implementation of the New Urban Agenda
Your Excellency Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I align myself with the statement delivered on behalf of the African Group and commend the President of the General Assembly for convening this very important meeting.
Mr. President, it is an undeniable fact, that Africa is urbanizing rapidly and all cities across the globe, are faced with challenges in ensuring sustainable urban settlement and development. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened these challenges. To this end, I believe there is no better time than now, as a global community, to discuss various issues that confront our cities, take stock of our progress, and strategize to achieve our goals for the New Urban Agenda.
Mr. President, progress in the implementation of Ghana’s commitments has seen improvement in water and sanitation services; the existence of a national policy on urban development, budget for climate change; among others. The housing sector has also seen a 33 percent reduction in the national housing deficit and a related reduction in the number of people living in slums.
However, recent statistics from the 2021 Population and Housing Census Report on Housing Characteristics revealed that approximately 12.7 percent of the total structures counted were vacant housing units, giving a clear indication that our housing supply has outpriced the average person in Ghana. As a result, the Government of Ghana has prioritised the delivery of affordable housing units to increase access to various affordable housing options in the country.
In doing so, Mr. President, the Government intends to create the enabling environment to de-risk affordable housing and induce private sector investment towards meeting the needs of lower-income households, and other vulnerable groups. The strategy of Ghana is to secure land banks and provide the requisite infrastructure and leverage private sector investment for affordable housing construction. Additionally, government will strengthen the provision of the necessary tax incentives and exemptions available in our laws.
Related to this, Mr. President, is the establishment of the Home Ownership Fund to provide mortgages to enable average Ghanaians afford housing. Under this strategy, Ghana has positioned itself to capitalise on the opportunities in affordable housing and its associated basic services, to improve health outcomes, generate employment, enhance home-based learning, and increase digital access.
Mr. President, I am pleased to have participated in the Special African Ministerial Session on Sustainable Urbanization and Housing, held on April 14, 2022, in Kenya and wish to state that, I support the various recommendations made in the position paper from that meeting.
To conclude, Ghana is committed to making a conscious effort towards the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, the choices we all make today could result in a breakthrough to a greener, better, and safer future.
Thank you for your Attention.