Vice-President Bawumia launches $150 million social cohesion project; 48 MMDAs to benefit
A $150 million project aimed at improving economic activities in six regions of the country heavily hit by food insecurity, climate change, conflict and violence, particularly from the Sahel region, has been launched.
The multi-country project dubbed “Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project, aside from Ghana, is also being implemented in Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire which suffer from issues of conflict and violence as a result of happenings in the Sahel region.
The World Bank is financing the entire project with a credit facility of $450 million credit facility, out of which Ghana’s share is $150 million. Cote d’Ivoire’s share is also $150 million while that of Togo and Benin is $75 million each.
The five-year project is being implemented in 48 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across six regions, namely Oti, Upper East, Upper West, Northern, North East and Savanna.
The project is expected to deliver about 1,406 socio-economic community level climate change resilient infrastructure through a community-driven approach.
Additionally, it will provide support for the northern parts of the Gulf of Guinea countries that are hardest hit by fragilities due to food insecurity, climate change, conflict and violence.
The ceremony was graced by high-profile personalities, traditional rulers and staff of the beneficiary MMDAs.
At the launch in Bolgatanga last Friday, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said the project was an important and timely intervention aimed at addressing some of the key emerging and recurring challenges in the northern part of the country.
He said it was conceived and designed to address effects of the spillover of conflicts and extremism from the Sahel region due to the vulnerability and exposure to the impact of climate change.
" The just ended COP27 conference on climate change as well as other international conferences provided clear indications of the urgency of dealing with these challenges, particularly, food insecurity for the benefit of the people,” Dr Bawumia said.
The Vice-President said the project was very much in line with the government’s development agenda as it further reflected in key policies, programmes and frameworks aimed at improving the lives of the people.
Not business as usual
The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Daniel K. Botwe, said the ministry would ensure that the project was successful to address the needs of the people in the beneficiary communities.
" I want to assure all our development partners that the government will not tolerate business as usual but will ensure that there is value for money," he said.
The World Bank Country Director, Pierre Frank Laporte, said the World Bank was deeply committed to collaborating with the government of Ghana through the new country partnership framework to address spatial and other inequalities, improve socio-economic and governance to promote inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
He stated that the SOCO project was a specific example of targeting vulnerable communities in the north to proactively prevent the spread of conflict from the Sahel, reduce vulnerability to climate change and strengthen local institutions.
On behalf of the beneficiary regions, Dr Salih, in a welcome address, said the project would reposition the local economies of the beneficiary communities and make them more resilient.
The Paramount Chief of the Nangodi Traditional Area, Naba Kosom Asaga Yelzoya II, who chaired the event, urged the implementing officers to ensure that the project was effectively and efficiently executed.