The government is looking to overhaul its approach to development in Northern Ghana by promoting social cohesion and improving economic opportunities.
This was announced by the Vice Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Mr David Quaye Annang, at the Upper West Regional Development Forum in Wa.
Outlining plans for the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Local Government and the World Bank, he explained that climate, lack of coordination and fragmented development programmes have hindered progress in the north.
“The deliberations of the SOCO project scoping report and user forum for the digital knowledge platform by key actors are critical since they will help to promote evidence-based decision-making for integrated and inclusive development in Northern Ghana,” he stated.
The SOCO project seeks to address challenges related to conflict, extremism, climate change vulnerability and lack of economic opportunities. It will use an innovative digital knowledge platform to improve coordination and information sharing.
He noted that regional consultations are underway to finalise the scoping report and knowledge platform, emphasising the importance of input from stakeholders across the North to shape the project.
“Our presence here today indicates our commitment as a nation to ensure that the implementation of the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) Project becomes successful,” he added.
On his part, the Minister for Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, Mr Dan Botwe, emphasised the critical role of local authorities in ensuring coordinated and impactful development in northern Ghana.
He commended the progress made but said interventions often remain fragmented and uncoordinated.
“I am of the view that the major challenge has been that these interventions are mostly fragmented and uncoordinated. Additionally, most of these interventions have not been tracked over the years to ascertain if the expected impact has been realised,” he noted.
Mr Botwe urged Regional Ministers, Municipal Chief Executives, Traditional Authorities and development partners to embrace their roles as change agents.
“Where we are today calls for us to balance global thinking with local action, aiming to extend the development to every household and community within the region,” he said.
With the tools and political will aligning, the Minister expressed hope that the north can finally achieve enduring prosperity if local leaders commit to the project.
Joyce Adwoa Animia Ocran, ISD