Must Read: Accra Is An Overrated City In Need Of An Overhaul

Must Read: Accra Is An Overrated City In Need Of An Overhaul


Can Accra be considered a “modern” city?

A modern city is typically characterized by a diverse and highly developed infrastructure, including a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Most modern cities have a variety of public amenities and services, such as parks, museums, theatres, and sporting facilities.

If you haven’t lived in Accra for a full year, everything might look good from the outside looking in.

But historically, the city has been falling behind in a lot of areas. From its “ outdated “ city design to its ever-increasing traffic congestion to its outrageous prices for accommodation, Accra is not the model you’re looking for when it comes to modern cities like Singapore or Stockholm.

So what’s wrong with it? Where did it all go wrong and can it be fixed?

Gentrification, High Rise Apartments, and Rent

Most of the new apartments being built in the city as labeled as “luxury” which is out of the range for the average Accra resident.

According to data compiled by Numbeo, the average rent in Accra is as follows:

  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre — 7,579.75 GHC
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre — 591.67 GHC
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre — 17,891.46 GHC
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre — 2,572.00 GHC

Can the average Ghanaian afford this? Well, the data is still not as sorted, but it can be estimated that the average Ghanaian makes about 2,000 GHC — 4000 GHC for their monthly salary. If we add in bills including water and electricity, the cost of living in the city is out of range for most.

It’s no wonder most young people still stay at home with their parents.

Governments over the years have tried to solve this problem with affordable housing projects. Unfortunately, most of these projects don’t seem to work out in the long term. From allegations of corruption and poor maintenance, affording housing is becoming more of a myth in Accra.

Public Transportation (Or Lack Thereof)

Ghana’s popular choice of public transportation has been small buses or “Trotros”. This method of transportation has been the most popular system since the 60s.

Fast forward to 2023 and Ghana’s public transportation system hasn’t evolved.

There have been other attempts to introduce other forms of public transportation including the Metro Mass buses. But there hasn’t panned out all the way through. From corruption, poor maintenance, and low fares, the Metro Mass bus system doesn’t seem to have made giant strides in making public transportation attractive for most commuters.

The most recent public transportation project has been the Ayalolo bus rapid transport system. But that project appears to also be a dud. With poor planning and a lack of an actual road network to accommodate rapid transit, the Ayalolo buses have become just another part of the regular traffic in the city.

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Bolt have tried to fill the public transportation gap but they are not cost-effective in the long run for the average Ghanaian. Although a mass transit online platform like is trying to make mass transportation affordable, the company hasn’t yet scaled up to the point of “trotro” transportation.

Poor City Planning and No “People Friendly” Design

Perennial flooding affects the city every year and it’s only going to get worse because of climate change. A lack of town planning and a modern sewage system makes Accra a hotspot for flooding every year.

Accra may be known as a place known for its hospitality but the design city is definitely not people-friendly. Unless you’re living in a more structured neighborhood like East Legon or Cantonments, there are hardly good designs like sidewalks for pedestrians to walk.

Some walkability studies have been done in parts of Accra and they concluded that there are insufficient structures for pedestrians in the city to traverse.

If you’re looking to use a bicycle to cycle around the inner city, you’ll be out of luck as Accra barely has any lanes to ride on.

What Needs To Change

Accra is badly in need of a redesign. In 2018, the government employed the services of Dr. Liu Thai-Ker, who is an acclaimed master planner for Singapore, to help with the remodeling of the city of Accra.

Fast forward to 2023 and we don’t have any updates on the work or plan for the city. Traffic congestion is getting worse, air pollution is on the upset and the city gets more and more congested.

So now what needs to change for the city to be considered modern?

Become More “Accessible” To Everyone

Accra is not “people” friendly especially when it comes to movement. Most citizens are opting for private vehicles to get to work and run errands. This decision is leading to more congestion and traffic in the city.

If more resources and planning were put into public transportation, it would help reduce congestion and make movement around the city-friendly. Trains, buses, and other mass transport systems need to be integrated into the city.

The city also needs to consider the design of bike lanes and more sidewalks to encourage more walking and easier movement.

“Real” Affordable Housing

Most of the government’s housing projects have been disasters. There needs to be a proper definition of “affordable” when it comes to Accra. As mentioned before, the average salary of a Ghanaian is between 3000–4000 GHC. Most articles state that 30% of your income should go to your rent.

In that case, the average rent in the city should be between 900 and 1200 GHC for basic rent space.

Ghana keeps looking at Singapore for inspiration when it comes to modern infrastructure. In Singapore, housing is largely subsidised by the government. Unfortunately, subsidies might place a huge financial burden on government. A better solution would be to put in incentives for private developers to build and rent housing for low-income people.

The new rental scheme announced by the government is just not going to do it in the long run.

Accra is not great. Don’t let the pictures of parties and festivals fool you. Behind the smoke screen is a whole undeveloped city that needs drastic change if it wants to be one of the best cities in Africa.

Yes, there have been some developments as far as infrastructure and tourism but Accra should be better than it is today. Currently, it feels like it’s living off its past glory.

Make Accra great again.

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