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Accra Problems

Accra is the capital city of Ghana with a population over 2 million. It is also the home base for the government and where most businesses have their head offices. Almost every household in Ghana has some member of the family living in Accra. It is a busting city and also suffers from most of the 'problems' associated with other cities around the world.

The problems in Accra are typical in most African cities. Before independence, the majority of the population were farmers and illiterate. But when Ghana became independent in 1957, the government rightly made education its priority and the same has been maintained over the years. There were only a few secondary schools and just one university before independence. But now there are over 500 higher institutions made up of secondary schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities for a population of about 20 million. The result is, most people do not want to live in their towns and villages anymore - why, because there are no jobs in these places for the vocations they have trained for and the fact that there is no electricity or pipe borne water supplies to least attract them to stay in their towns or villages. So Accra is over populated and the rate at which the city is expanding is one of the fastest in Africa.

The cost of food is reasonable but to find a place to rent is a headache. This is made worse by the fact that in almost all places, the rent usually is paid two years in advance. The average rent per month is sometimes more than thirty percent of income. This is one of the reasons why people get corrupt; taking bribes in work places, using all sorts of dubious means to make ends meet.

Apart from these difficult problems, the city can be proud of its cosmopolitan nature. There are a lot of other African immigrants living in the country from as far as Zimbabwe in the south, Sudan in the north and from our nearest neighbours, Togoland and Ivory Coast and most of them feel at home. But the downside to this is that there are not many jobs and it is worrying to see young men and women hanging around the streets; usually selling whatever they can lay their hands on in order to have their daily bread. Most of these young people usually sell on the main roads in areas where they know traffic lights can stop the flow of traffic for a few minutes and then they will rush to the drivers or passengers in the vehicles, hoping to make a sale. This hawking is risky business and hardly a week passes by without somebody sustaining serious injuries or even being killed.

There are some beautiful places in Accra; some are in the city and most of them in the outskirts. But ofcourse there some 'not so nice' sites aswell. New buildings seem to be springing up everywhere but the natives are priced out of these accomodations. They are just too expensive and the builders claim that part of the reasons for the high cost is because most of the building materials have to be imported. And often there is no mortgage system where the purchase of a house can be spread over so many years. So before one moves in to his/her new home, one must have paid the total price. But recently there are new government schemes to enable middle class families to own their own homes. The scheme is rudimentary but it is hoped in the near future, people with regular traceable employment may also be able to qualify for mortgages.

For the tourist, you will find the average Ghanaian hospitable and the cost of hotels reasonable if you shop around. The night life is busy and noisy and you may be surprised to find that not all the noises come from night clubs or discos but from religious centres aswell. But whatever you do, do not forget to take your malaria medications.

If you have encountered any problems, for example cost of accomodation, your experiences with AMA, road congestion etc. which might be of interest to our readers, you may fill the following form (not more than 300 words) and press the send button.

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