Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city, has been selected as one of the 50 Champion Cities under the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a project seeking to reward cities for their innovativeness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project, a brainchild of the Bloomberg Philanthropies, an international development-oriented organization, has the objective to identify 50 leading urban solutions that were imagined or launched during these stressful times.
While at different stages of implementation, these ideas must have the potential for meaningful impact and the ability to spread to other cities, according to the project concept.
In all, 631 cities from around the world submitted applications earlier this year and a committee of global experts selected the 50 most innovative urban solutions to emerge in the wake of COVID-19.
Some 15 shortlisted cities out of the 50 are expected to win prize money of US$1 million each to help in the implementation of their breakthrough ideas and, ultimately, to spread their ideas to other cities around the world.
Mr Osei Assibey-Antwi, the Mayor of Kumasi, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on the sideline of a meeting of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), said the city was optimistic to be named among the final winners.
“We have submitted to Bloomberg issues confronting Kumasi and proposed innovative and sustainable strategies that will turn these issues into opportunities for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he noted.
Bloomberg Philanthropies focuses its resources on five areas – the environment, public health, the arts, government innovation and education.
“The Assembly is proud to announce that our great city, Kumasi, is the Champion City selected from Ghana,” he stated and rallied stakeholders to be supportive of the city to achieve its vision and mission.
The Mayor said the pandemic had changed the daily lives of people around the world and required that cities did more with the fewer resources at their disposal than ever before.
“Even in the face of a public-health crisis, social unrest, massive budget shortfalls and mounting climate disasters, Mayors are taking bold steps to tackle their cities’ most pressing challenges,” Mr Assibey-Antwi observed.
He pointed out that cities with populations greater than 100,000 residents were invited to apply for the ‘2021 Global Mayors Challenge’.
The KMA, the Mayor said, would continue to engage with stakeholders in fashioning out solutions to some of the common problems impeding the sustainable growth of the city.
Highlighting the meeting, the Mayor said it aimed at discussing the draft Metropolitan Medium-Term Development Plans based on the National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework.
The Framework titled “An Agenda for Job: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunities for All” was prepared by the National Development Planning Commission based on the Government’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development.