Scale up northern development – WB to Government, development partners

The World Bank has urged the government and some development partners to increase economic opportunities, improve infrastructure and strengthen citizens' socioeconomic well-being in the Northern regions of Ghana.

According to the Bretton Woods Institution, promoting inclusive growth and reducing poverty would stave off terrorist-linked security threats in those parts of the country, and strengthen social cohesion, an important driver of prosperity and stability.

Ghana's northern frontiers have been exposed to jihadist threats because of the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso and Mali, which has made coastal countries the new frontline against armed groups operating in the Sahel.

Even though the country has not experienced jihadist attacks, the government, in partnership with development partners have put in place a development programme and strategic projects that are being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development in 48 Metropolitan, Municipal District Assemblies, across six regions in the northern part of Ghana.

Beneficiary regions include the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Savannah, North-East and Oti.

Those interventions are part of a broader Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project aimed at improving regional collaboration, and socioeconomic and climate resilience of border-zone communities in the targeted northern regions of the Gulf of Guinea countries, including Ghana, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, and Togo.

The World Bank, through its International Development Association, is funding the initiative with some US$450 million. Ghana is receiving US$150 million of that amount.

Areas of focus within northern Ghana are local economic development, digital innovations, local governance, social cohesion, climate resilience, addressing conflict and violence and building of local capacity.

At a day's workshop to facilitate dialogue between the Local Government Ministry and development partners, Madam Agata Pawlowska, Operations Manager, World Bank, noted that needs were expanding across the Gulf of Guinea region.

She said development partners and governments ought to explore joint solutions to address the myriad of threats overlapping the Gulf of Guinea area.

Madam Pawlowska said the northern rural areas in the country lacked access to critical infrastructure and the possibility of spillover conflict could raise insecurity.

'Only cooperation amongst all of us partners and stakeholders would bring results. Let us explore ways to promote coordinated and integrated development and jobs in northern Ghana,' she said, adding that the World Bank would continue to work with the Government of Ghana to solve socioeconomic inequalities.

Mr Amin Abdul-Rahaman, Chief Director for the Local Government Ministry, said the SOCO Project Implementation had identified and engaged development partners to execute the interventions.

'We intend to consolidate the efforts by the government and other stakeholders to make a greater impact,' he said

Source: Ghana News Agency