Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is to invest approximately GH 100 million per year from 2012 in the critical areas that will unlock the development potential of the northern zone, Dr. Sulley Gariba, Policy Advisor, SADA, Office of the Vice-President has disclosed.
This investment, expected to leverage twice that amount from the private-sector, and through public private partnerships, is targeted at reducing the level of those living in poverty to less than 20 percent by 2030 and transform the northern savannah as a bread basket for the country.
The SADA has been mandated to promote accelerated development of the northern Savannah areas, comprising the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Region; as well as districts contiguous to the northern region in northern Brong-Ahafo and northern Volta region. These areas are known to represent the poorest sections of Ghana, with between 70 and 85% of the inhabitants being poor.
B&FT has gathered that Cabinet approved the SADA strategic plan early this year to signal the beginning of the process to draft a new law, amending the earlier Act 768 on the Northern Ghana Development Fund (NDF), to enable it work closely with key Ministries, Departments, Agencies as well as private sector organizations and Civil Society.
Speaking at a seminar in Accra under the theme: ‘From Agriculture to Agribusiness: Utilizing Synergies for Sustained Agricultural Development in the SADA Zone,’ Dr. Gariba said: “Government has pledged commitment in financial and human resources to this initiative, together with the country’s development partners to support major components of the strategy and attendant programmes.
“Those who presently bare the brunt of poverty are the millions of women and children living and working in the northern savannah belt. “Majority of our people about 75% are engaged in Agriculture – farming mainly for subsistence survival. This practice needs to be transformed to Agribusiness to increase the volume and the value of our productivity; increase the returns and improve quality of life of our people.”
“Investments in agriculture, agro-processing, tourism, mining and services are expected to ensure that more than 90% of the jobs created will be long-term, sustainable employment, especially for the youth.” Dr. Gariba explained that the Authority has been mandated to mobilize human, financial and other resources for the implementation of the accelerated development strategy. The strategy, he said, will focus on the creation of a “Forested and Green North”, an area where farmers plant and reap the fruits of economic trees, while producing nutritious staple foods for domestic consumption and commercial purposes.
By prioritizing climate-change mitigation strategies, SADA proposes to coordinate a multiplicity of agencies to design and implement flood control measures, through drainage of the White Volta River basin, aggressive tree planting and progressive land development and management. He added that much of this investment will be public-sector led, targeting the construction of canals, roads and bridges, and irrigation and drainage systems to enable farmers to produce food and commercial crops all year-round.
“By focusing on the pivotal role of the private sector, SADA promises to be instrumental in mobilizing private sector businesses to take advantage of the investment incentives and opportunities offered by SADA to get involved in a new orientation of the value-chain.
“Both Ghanaian and international private sector organizations have started to express interest in capitalizing on the opportunities provided by opening-up of the northern savannah area for short, medium and long-term investments, ” he stressed.
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