24 November 2020

A mapping challenge: Decentralization and fragmentation of administrative regions characterize GAMA

As part of the ongoing effort to describe urban development in the four localities selected for the CLIMACCESS Survey, both South and North partners have been involved in the non-trivial task of mapping the administrative areas of local governance in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).

In 1988, Ghana implemented a decentralized development planning system and as a result, the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area is today subdivided into a number of local government units - either metropolitan, municipal or district assemblies - with primary responsibility for spatial planning and land use management. Importantly, GAMA itself is not a political-administrative entity, but refers to a collection of metropolitan and municipal assemblies commonly considered part of Accra as a functional city-region. The relations between municipal and metropolitan assemblies are notoriously fraught with boundary disputes and lack of cooperation.

The newest municipality in GAMA, Ga North, which engulfs the locality of Pokuase, was officially inaugurated on 15th March 2018 after it was carved out of the Ga West Municipality. However, disputes over the exact boundaries of Ga North are ongoing: the municipal website displays this map of the area, but in reality the map includes some "disputed zones" along the boundaries to the neighboring municipalities. Such uncertainty in regards to governance and land use management exacerbate development planning problems in the area.