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URBANIZATION AND ITS EFFECTS ON DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

MISBAHU B BULMUO

Warren (2003) defined urbanization as the movement of people from communities concerned chiefly or solely with agriculture to other communities generally larger whose activities are primarily centered in government, trade, manufacture or allied interest. It is also seen as the movement of population from rural to urban areas and the resulting increasing proportion of a population that resides in urban rather than rural areas. This phenomenon of urbanization has greatly caught up with the world, Ghana inclusive and it comes with its own set of problems that have become a burden on central government and policy makers who are at a lost as to how to tackle it. The unbridled rural to urban drift in Ghana started in the mid-1980s following the break down of the agriculture sector. The aim of this paper would be to attempt to argue some problems of this canker on development which has brought nothing good but rather become an albatross around the neck of the policy makers. Attempt would also be made to offer what could be solutions to minimizing it if not eradicating it.

There is no doubt that the rapid and alarming urbanization we are experiencing has an adverse effects on our quest for development and if not checked in the shortest possible time this would definitely spell further problems seeing that Ghana as a country is still far behind in terms of development as compared to other countries in north Africa and in the southern parts of the continent.

It must be kept in mind that urbanization is a two way process because it involves not only movement from villages to cities and changes from agricultural occupation to business, trade, service and other professions, but it also involves changes in migrant attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviour patterns which then affect traditional values.

On one very critical effect of urbanization in Ghana Baabereyir (2009) has found out that unsustainable urbanization in Ghana has resulted in poor environmental conditions in urban settlements in the country. "Solid waste disposal, in particular has become a daunting task for the municipal authorities who seem to lack the capacity to tackle the mounting waste situation".

It is common knowledge that a high concentration of people at one particular area would generate waste especially the plastic waste in our case. Major cities such as Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Takoradi among others can best be termed as dirt cities due to what has been acknowledged as the 'mounting waste situation" and the fact that municipal authorities are finding it difficult to contained it.

The four cities mentioned above have become the preferred point of call by people desiring to leave their villages in search of "greener pastures" due to the high concentration of industries and other so called job avenues. Unfortunately these metropolises have not prepared themselves for the large influx of these menial job seekers.

When the search for "greener pastures" eludes migrants to the city centers, the situation then leads to another problem of urbanization. Rowntree, Lewiss, Price and Wyckoff report that crime is a major problem for Lagos in Nigeria and this goes for other cities including Accra and others in Ghana due to the large influx of people whose ambitions of finding jobs have been dashed and without any form of education or skills they are tempted to fall on crime to survive.

Weinberg (1965) also notes that "disproportionate age concentration, an uneven male-female ratio and the diminution of traditional kingship controls of contemporary urban life. The male delinquency which occurs as a consequence of these factors in both the central and the adjacent villages is also affected by the urban gangs that roam into the villages periodically to steal and to recruit members".

The sum effect of this is that law enforcement is ultimate over stretched since the police and other security agencies had to try hard to fight crime depending on limited resources. Our prisons also get choked with a

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