The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has expressed hope that the launch of the Northern Gulf of Guinea (SOCO) Social Cohesion project will address the key socio-economic obstacles facing people in the northern part of Ghana.
Dr Bawumia interacting with some participants in the programme
He said it was an indisputable fact that many parts of the North had over the years been hit by acute economic challenges and the launch of the project was a timely intervention as it had the potential to correct some of the major emerging issues and recurring challenges in the northern part of the country.
The Vice President was speaking at the launch of the SOCO project in Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper East Region, at the weekend.
The launch of the project here in Bolgatanga was preceded by a regional sensitization exercise by the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD) a few months ago where revered stakeholders were engaged through a week-long program regarding the project’s impact on the livelihoods of the people in the beneficiary districts and municipalities.
Dr. Bawumia said the project is a $450 million multi-country credit facility guaranteed by the World Bank.
The beneficiary countries, he noted, are Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, explaining that the project targeted the more than 16 million people living in the northern parts of the beneficiary countries, who were threatened by the spread of the conflict in the Sahel, such as and increased vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
In Ghana, the project will be implemented in 48 Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) in the six beneficiary regions; such as Oti, Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East and Upper West, the vice president said.
Dr. Bawumia said the external pressures of conflict and climate change have dealt a huge blow to the country’s economic strength, “and these external pressures of conflict and climate change have been exacerbated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has aggravated the regions. challenges of poverty, exclusion and poor governance.”
Of the $450 million, $150 million has been allocated to Ghana and according to Dr. Bawumia, the project, if fully implemented, would rectify the impact of the spread of conflict and extremism in the Sahel region and also reduce vulnerability and would improve economic opportunities. , building public trust and strengthening local institutions.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, in a speech read on his behalf by the Western Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, the beneficiary regions were grateful to the World Bank for the project which sought to address the phenomena of poverty, fragility, conflict and violence.
For his part, the country director of the World Bank, Pierre Frank Laporte, noted the implementation of the program aimed at proactively preventing the spread of conflicts in the Sahel, reducing vulnerability to climate change and strengthening local institutions, economic opportunities and the public. trust in the beneficiary regions, districts, municipalities and communities.
According to him, the lack of opportunities for young people has generated conflicts and inter-community tensions and structural fragilities that have posed a growing security problem, therefore the implementation of the intervention would bring solutions to those growing failures.
FROM FRANCIS DABRE DABANG, BOLGATANGA