The Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr Daniel Botwe, has said the implementation of the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project will complement Ghana’s pro-poor policies.
Cross section of Participants
According to him, it would reduce inequality, foster economic growth and create the needed jobs to empower the youth in the beneficiary districts and municipalities.
He said some interventions, especially the Medium Term National Development Policy Framework (2022-2025) and the Ghana@100 vision, rolled out by the government had been contributing significantly to the progress of the country, and the implementation of the SOCO project was going to add value to it.
The Minister made this known in his keynote address at a three-day orientation and sensitisation programme on the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions SOCO project held in Bolgatanga of the Upper East Region here on Friday.
The project is a multi-country US$450 million credit facility secured by the government of Ghana from the World Bank to be implemented in Ghana and three other West African countries; including Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin.
The SOCO project aims at providing support to the northern parts of the Gulf of Guinea countries considered as the worst hit by fragilities following food insecurity, climate change, conflict, and violence.
Of the total amount of money, MrBotwe disclosed that Ghana through the Ministry of Local Government had received US$150 million, and the project was going to be implemented in six regions of the country;Oti Region, Savannah, Northern, Upper West, Upper East and North East Regions.
“For almost a decade, the living conditions of the over 16 million people living in the northern parts of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo have been threatened by the spread of conflict from the Sahel, which has led to increased vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
“These external pressures of conflict and climate change, as well as the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, have compounded challenges of poverty, exclusion, and weak governance”, MrBotwe indicated as he justified the selection of the beneficiary countries.
In Ghana, he said 48 Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the six regions were selected to benefit from the project, explaining that those MMDAs had been chosen premised on climate vulnerability, exposure to security risk, poverty incidence and unemployment rate.
He, therefore, challenged the various Regional Coordinating Directorates (RCCs) under the care of the respective Regional Ministers to ensure routined monitoring of the MMDAs for effective and efficient implementation of the project.
This, he noted, would inure to the benefit of the people in the beneficiary regions since the objectives of the project would undoubtedly culminate in improved livelihoods of the citizenry.
The Minister also charged all other relevant stakeholders to contribute towards a successful implementation of the project as it was anticipated to deliver an estimated 1,406 socio-economic community-level climate resilient infrastructure via community-driven development approach.
A Project Implementation Manual (PIM), he said, had been prepared to serve as a guide for an efficient and effective project implementation and management.
He reiterated the vision of president Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo towards the rapid socio-economic development of the districts and municipalities, stressing that “the vision of the President regarding Local Governance and Decentralisation is to ensure that the living conditions of the citizenry are improved through the formulation of appropriate policies at the local level”.
The SOCO project is going to be executed under four components in the selected MMDAs in the country. These include; Investing in Community Resilience and Inclusion; Building Foundation and Capacity for Inclusive and Resilient Communities; Regional Coordination Platform and Dialogue; and Project Management.