“Affordable housing is out of reach of many households,” the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana (UG), has said.
It said the situation could be attributed to the lack of access to land, building materials, finance and building codes, among other challenges.
The institute has, therefore, urged the government to implement targeted subsidies or housing assistance programmes to support low-income households to access affordable housing, adding that what was considered as affordable housing was out of reach of low-income earners who were the most affected when it comes to issues of accommodation.
This was contained in the Ghana Social Development Outlook (GSDO) 2022 report of the institute which was launched in Accra last Tuesday.
bi-annual publication has since 2012, remained one of the flagship publications of ISSER.
The sixth edition which contains 10 chapters comes with different but interrelated topics which authors from the social division had carefully put together.
It borders on education, health, water and sanitation; housing, employment, energy, environment, gender, social relations and population, among other sectors.
As part of the recommendations, ISSER further called on the government to promote affordable housing options for different income groups and incentives for the middle and upper-income classes to invest in rental units for low-income households.
According to the Director of ISSER, Prof. Peter Quartey, although the number of housing units had increased, it was not able to address the issue of housing because “we are gradually seeing more of high and middle-income housing units compared to the compound houses that has been the case”.
“So in some areas there are houses, they are not occupied by people and East Legon area in Accra, for instance, is noted for many of such houses,” he said.
According to Prof. Quartey, what the people need are compound houses, a bedroom or a single room to provide shelter for the family.
“If you go to other parts of Africa such as Cape Town in South Africa, you will see small housing units with solar panels on them.
This is something that we can call affordable and not the flats,” he added.
Prof. Quartey further said that the event had offered a platform for useful engagement with stakeholders and led conversations around their work, including other pressing national and international issues, “so we hope that government will strengthen its collaboration with academia”.
The Head of the GDSO, Dr Martha Awo, who presented the report, said there was also the need to redirect population movement away from choked cities to areas with less population concentration.
The heavy concentration of population in the Greater Accra Region, especially in the cities of Accra, Tema and Ashaiman, has serious implications for housing, sanitation, road traffic management, food security and national security, she said.
Dr Awo said before any country could engage in any form of developmental activities, it was imperative for it to take into consideration the dynamics of its population structure and fashion out policies and programmes that would address population concerns.
The report also touched on the influx of young migrants from the West African sub-region to the country, which she said had become a source of concern for national security.
“The Ministry for the Interior, national security agencies and the Immigration Service should team up to document all these immigrants to determine their status based on the ECOWAS Protocol and take appropriate action to defuse the possible threat their presence poses to national security”, she added.