City Dispatch: Kumasi, Ghana
Private Sector Development Transitioning to City Government
Since 2011, MCI has endeavored to strengthen the capacity of three of its Millennium Cities – Tabora, Tanzania, Mekelle, Ethiopia, and Kumasi, Ghana – to attract and service domestic and foreign investors, through its Regional Partnership to Promote Trade and Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, a project funded by the Government of Finland.
In Kumasi, the MCI team, led by Dr. Karin Millett and Rene Samek, identified a number of viable investment opportunities – including in the cultivation of bamboo and oil palm, fruit processing, tourism and real estate. This research led to the development of several materials, including an Investment Guide, detailed profiles of specific opportunities, a Kumasi investment website and promotional brochure, which have been disseminated via mail, Internet and through local and international events, culminating with an investment forum held in late 2013 in Accra, followed by a tour of prospective investment opportunities in Kumasi.
In late March Dr. Millett and Mr. Samek traveled to Kumasi to participate, alongside MCI’s Investment Promotion Specialist Bennet Elvis Niboi and Regional Coordinator for West Africa Abenaa Akuamoa-Boateng, in discussions with city administration officials and key stakeholders regarding the transition of the project to management by the Kumasi city government itself. Honorable Mayor Kojo Bonsu and Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly officers were presented with a series of questions to help them develop the city’s own three-year strategic and operational roadmap. MCI will continue to offer guidance over the next several months, with a final hand-off of the investment promotion work to all participating cities at the end of June.
City Dispatch: Blantyre, Malawi
Stakeholders Convene to Discuss Top Priorities for their City
MCI Associate Director for Research Dr. Moumié Maoulidi traveled recently to Blantyre, Malawi, to gather with the Blantyre City Council, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a wide array of city stakeholders for the purpose of discussing MCI’s findings in the areas of public health, gender, education and water/sanitation and to come to consensus regarding the city’s top priorities for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Discussions during the three-day consultation were wide-ranging and inclusive, representing some of the voices of academia, civil society and non-government organizations, as well as local and national government. A key objective was to ensure that research findings accurately reflect the current situation on the ground. Among those priorities identified are the urgent need, in water/sanitation, for fixing broken pipes, increasing water production, rehabilitating waste treatment facilities and building a new landfill; in education, for improving quality of learning in schools by rehabilitating infrastructure and training more teachers; in health, for reducing neo-natal mortality, maternal mortality, staff attrition and shortages of drugs and medical supplies; and, in gender, for reducing early marriage, teen pregnancy, gender inequality (particularly in employment and representation in government) and violence against women. These and other priorities will now be incorporated into a City Development Strategy (CDS) and associated budget aimed at helping Blantyre, a Millennium City since 2006, fast-track its progress toward attaining the MDGs.
The final day of the consultation included presentations focused on the city’s investment promotion activities and the findings of MCI’s own MDG household survey, which was conducted in the informal settlements of Mbayani, Misesa and Nancholi. Using the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index and cross-tabulation analysis, the research reveals that more than half the inhabitants are poor, 70 percent do not have access to a usable road during the rainy season, two out of five households are 30 minutes or more away from a pre-primary institution, more than 90 percent of households cook using charcoal or wood and only 36 percent of households have electricity. MCI hopes the findings will allow stakeholders and development partners to design evidence-based interventions and policies that can address some of these challenges.
Since these meetings, Blantyre CEO Emmanuel Ted Nandolo has affirmed his commitment to completing Blantyre’s CDS, which the Blantyre City Council can then take to the national government and to development partners for financing and implementation.