Posted by: rumnet | November 27, 2010



(Published in the November edition of the advocate)

By Abdallah Kassim

Vice President John Mahama

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is in the process of constituting its Board to enable it start its operations in earnest. Vice President John Dramani Mahama said: “We are at the stage of constituting the Board of SADA and then advertise for the positions – from the chief executive to all the senior positions- and the public service commission will do the interview.

The Vice President, who was fielding questions on a TV Africa programme, The Bare Facts, said many donors and financial groups have expressed interest in investing quite substantial resources into SADA. “Government itself has made commitment to put some money in there. So that we have a situation where young people growing up in the north have some economic opportunities they can look up to.”

According to Vice President Mahama, Government’s intention is to use SADA as a vehicle to create a new growth pole in the north, based on agriculture and other potentials for which the north has comparative advantage.

“Right now it is just a situation of despair where young people finish school and the only jobs they can find in the north are government jobs; otherwise, they just have to pick their bags and drift to Accra, Tema or Takoradi or Kumasi to see if they can get work. We are trying to stop that and indeed reverse the migration situation where southerners will leave the south to the north to look for economic opportunities.”

John Mahama asserted that the decision to accord special attention to the savannah area was not out of the blue. It was partly based on an assessment by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). “The poverty gap between the north and the south of the country was captured as one of the issues that Ghana needed to tackle when the country subjected itself to the APRM. The previous government set out to tackle the issue by initiating the Northern Development Fund(NDF) for the three political regions in the north.”

He said in the run up to the campaign in 2008, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) realized that poverty in the north was beyond the political boundaries of the three northern regions and was actually a phenomenon that affected not only political regions but also certain geographical regions. “That geographical region is the savanna area. The area includes the three northern regions and the northern parts of the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions. So we came up with the successor to the NDF which we called SADA.”

Vice President Mahama conceded that poverty was not limited to the north alone. He said parts of the Central and Volta regions have palpable traces of poverty. He said the next destination for poverty alleviation would be the Central Region.

“There will be a similar mechanism, like SADA, for the Central Region. Some people have suggested that we revive CEDECOM as a vehicle for development. The World Bank has also discussed with us the setting up of the Western Corridor Development Authority, which will take cognizance of poverty not only in the Central Region but in the Western Region.”


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