United World Infrastructure (UWI), a global infrastructure investment and development company, is launching a new city called Ghana Gold City (GGC) in the Ashanti region, adjacent to the Kumasi trading hub. GGC will cover 2,780 acres and be supported by infrastructure meeting global standards in terms of specifications, energy efficiency, and utilities redundancies.
“Ghana Gold City will set new regional and international standards as a fully integrated and sustainable living, working, and leisure destination,” said Mostafa Salim, who leads development of real estate and infrastructure assets for UWI. “Our focus on green and smart technologies in this development will facilitate on-going technology transfer to the region, further supporting Ashanti’s environmental, social, and economic objectives.”
GGC has been designed according to UWI’s signature economic cluster model. Economic clusters are self-sustaining, urban developments with a 24-hour lifecycle including live, work, and leisure spaces. Each cluster is integrated into the economic network of the region and will act as a catalyst for growth. UWI will be seeking leading providers of green and smart technologies to bring efficient and environmentally conscious systems to the design, construction, and operation of the infrastructure.
“Ghana’s stable government, growing economy, and effective government institutions support the success of new businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Imran Markar, who leads strategic relationships with institutional investors, government-linked agencies, and financial institutions for UWI. “There is a growing population in Ghana seeking the types of job opportunities which will be created by the development, making [GGC] the ideal environment for UWI’s economic cluster model.”
UWI has been working with local Ghana officials on the development plans for the last 12-months. Ghana Gold City will include: a central commercial hub, trading village, residential village, and office park to support the logistic inland port. The development will provide flexibility for the long-term growth and expansion of the city’s needs.
Ghana currently functions as the inland port through which traders come for regional distribution. “There are many landlocked countries around Ghana and they don't have access to the ocean or ports so all goods land in Ghana which has been established as a trading hub for West Africa,” Salim said. “Included in the zones, we will have one zone to streamline the goods processing system for regional traders to increase efficiency. Another zone will provide local wholesalers with an opportunity to participate in the value chain and buy goods for transport.”
This is the first major urban development between Kumasi and Accra. Its residential areas are expected to address two key concerns for Ghanaians: road congestion along the Kumasi-Accra highway and the rising demand for home ownership. “We designed this development considering the needs of local Ghanaians,” Salim said. “Ghana Gold City gives these commuters the option to live just 20 minutes away from their jobs in Kumasi. This will ease congestion on Ghana highways and improve overall quality of life.”
As part of a larger strategy to facilitate Ghanaian residents’ wellbeing, GGC will include natural green spaces within 5 minutes of walking from anywhere in the development as well as a comprehensive network for bicyclists and pedestrians. “We are committed to greener, smarter, and happier cities. The pedestrian and bicyclist networks will reduce carbon emissions, further ease congestion, improve road safety, and facilitate healthy lifestyle practices,” Salim said.
To ensure consistency of quality for GGC and realize its aspirations to improve quality of life for residents, UWI has designed planning guidelines for project contractors which will direct the overall design and development process including: preserving the cultural heritage of Ashanti, establishing convenient natural spaces, and providing strategic transport initiatives. “Each space will contribute to a sense of place and belonging in the community and promote impromptu meetings among students, colleagues, visitors, and residents,” Salim said. “We will foster economic growth for the entire West African region through Ghana Gold City, but at the end of the day, our work is about developing a place which benefits the people of Ghana.”
The project is intended to be operational upon completion of the infrastructure by 2020.