A conversation with Mohammed Adjei Sowah, mayor of Accra

High view point cityscape of Accra, Ghana. Traffic jam on George Bush Highway with hills on the background

February 4, Anthony F. Pipa, senior fellow in the Brookings Global Economy and Development program, hosted Mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah of Accra, Ghana. The two spent time discussing Accra’s commitment to equitable and sustainable development, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the whole conversation here or read the highlights below.

Since Mayor Sowah was appointed in 2017 by Accra’s Metropolitan Assembly, he has been working toward equitable and green growth and development in Accra.

Sanitation, a large priority of Mayor Sowah, has long been an issue in Accra, at the nexus of public safety, public health, the informal economy (which employs about 75 percent of Accra’s residents), and emissions contributing to climate change. While this issue impacts all of Accra, it affects Accra’s various communities in different ways, and the solutions must be dynamic so that certain communities are not left behind. Mayor Sowah emphasized that inclusivity and equity remain at the core of his administration’s work.

Aligning the city’s development and budget frameworks to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) helped maintain those principles amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Accra also committed to publishing a Voluntary Local Review (VLR) to report on its progress towards equity and sustainability. Accra is an active participant in global city networks, including C40 Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Mayor Sowah described the value of his international engagement, to share ideas, pool resources, and build alliances against cross-border challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change.