Posted by: rumnet | April 20, 2011

SADA Gathers Momentum to Take Off

SADA Gathers Momentum to Take Off

By Adallah Kassim

(Published in the April edition of the advocate)

Alhassan Andani, Chairman, SADA

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is gathering momentum to take off in earnest as its investment priority document is in the completion stage and funding for it is in the offing.

“The board has had time to look at the technical papers. We have digested and broken it up into implementable projects and arrangements are far advanced to put in place a management team,” the SADA board chairman, Mr. Alhassan Andani, told The ADVOCATE last week.

Andani posited confidently that “you will see some activities in agriculture hopefully before the main cropping season this year.’

SADA was conceived as far back as 2001 by the Mole Summit series as an independent agency for coordinating a comprehensive development agenda for the northern savannah ecological zone of Ghana. It is the country’s antidote to the menace of climate change that comes in the form of perennial droughts and floods in the arid north.

The agency’s main concern is to promote sustainable development, based on the concept of a forested and green north that will ensure climate change mitigation and improve livelihoods of the most vulnerable citizens.

Therefore, SADA’s goal is to “double per capita incomes of northern Ghanaians and reduce the incidence of poverty to 20 percent within 20 years in the northern savannah ecological belt through a “Forested and Green North by 2030”.

SADA believes that  the vision of a ‘Forested and Green North by 2030’,  “defines the parameters of a major paradigm-shift in stimulating economic growth and sustainable development by ensuring that small-holder families and poor farmers develop a long-term stake in agriculture by inter-cropping with economic trees. Trees moreover provide a protective buffer against floods; serve to renew soils and enhance environmental regeneration.

“Gravitating around a forested north are complimentary investments in roads, energy and water resources, education and health. These investments will enhance the pre-conditions and improve the skills and competencies to manage an integrated economy oriented towards improving productivity, trade and investments in a sustainable manner.”
SADA will strive towards its goal through five main pillars: building the agency into a strong co-ordinating institution; modernizing agriculture; developing the private sector; putting in place strategic infrastructural development; securing livelihoods, ensuring social protection and environmental resilience.

SADA covers the Northern, Upper East, Upper West regions and the northern parts of the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions.

As starters, SADA has identified eight sites with potential for large-scale agricultural development that it calls “growth poles.” These are: Fumbisi Valley, Pwalugu Area, Buipe Area, Katanga Area, Oti River Basin, Fumsi Valley, Kabaka Gorge, Bui Development Area, and Nasia Valley.

The mantle for making SADA a success, and not one of the many development parastatals that, over the years, strayed into the doldrums, fell on eight eminent personalities who constitute the Board of Directors: Mr. Alhassan Andani of Stanbic Bank (Chairman), Mr. P.V. Obeng; Dr. Alhassan Iddrisu; Chief Musa Badimsugru Adam; Ms Victoria Okine; Mrs. Blandina Battir: Mrs. Akanbangbiem Agamu Asokea and Mr. Akwasi Addae-Boahene.

The Board will govern SADA in conjunction with a Stakeholder Coordinating Council (SCC) representing the major stakeholders of development in the program area. SADA is currently recruiting staff for a small secretariat located in Tamale and a liaison office located in Accra.  The secretariat will be headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), four Directors and other professional staff.

The Board Chairman, Andani, says: “SADA will not go the same way of development programmes that have hitherto been set up and abandoned as a result of poor management and implementation efforts. The Board is very competent to ensure that SADA objectives are realised. SADA will be a facilitator, led by the public sector and executed by the private sector.

According to Andani, SADA will bring together companies and enterprises for economic activities that will involve people of the SADA regions both as owners and workers. It will create wealth and infrastructure for permanent economic growth poles for Ghana.

“SADA is about optimizing Ghana’s economic development, especially when the SADA regions constitute 33% of the county’s landmass.” Says Andani. “It has some of the country’s rich water resources, very fertile valleys, and some mineral resources such as gold, iron ore and lime stone.

Andani said what will make SADA a success is the ownership the people of the area will feel towards it. “It is about their development and they should not allow the SADA process to be bastardized through narrow, parochial party partisan lines. They should own it.”

One of the intellectual brains behind SADA, Dr. Charles Jebuni, says SADA is an autonomous statutory corporation with powers to promote rapid development by providing strategic direction for policy in the northern savannah ecological belt and mobilising additional resources for the development of the area.

He added that the core of SADA’s programme is the modernisation of agriculture. “We need to build the farmer’s assets so that he can modernise agriculture by himself. SADA is using the marketing based out-growers system which means that there will be some marketing company or organisation that will supply some technical services and inputs to the farmer and also buy the produce from him.”

According to Dr. Jebuni investors in the SADA programme will enjoy all the incentives under the Investment Promotion Centre. SADA will also create risk instruments which provide some form of insurance for investors within the zone. It will provide skills training to create the relevant pool of skills for those who will be investing in the area.

“SADA will promote bilateral and business relations with the sahel countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, in order to expand the market for people who will be investing in the SADA areas. There is a lot for anybody who wants to invest.”

Dr. Jebuni warned that SADA is not a funding agency. “We will not go looking for funding for investors. But we will facilitate their operations, their access to land – if it is land, we can facilitate their acquisition of the land.”

He said resource mobilised by SADA will be for providing infrastructure like roads, irrigation facilities, power and support for farming and marketing companies. “We are not putting down a pot of money for people to draw from”.

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