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A Development Strategy for the North

2008-10-20 21:14:04
This article has been read 765 times.

Dr Charles Jebuni of the Center for Policy Alternative (CPA) has stated that northern Ghana can contribute to the overall development of the country if the development gap was bridged.

But he said the north was being held back by inequitable distribution of development in relation to the south.

According to him, bridging the gap between the north and the south was very crucial since growth was the most cost effective means of addressing poverty reduction issues.

Dr. Jebuni was speaking at a consultative forum on the preparation of a comprehensive, long term development strategy for Northern Ghana with the vision a 'Forested and Green North by 2025." It was organized by the Center for Policy Analysis (CEPA) and the Institute for Policy Alternative (IPA) in collaboration with Northern Ghana Net work for Development NGOs and CSOs.

Dr Jebuni, the team leader of the strategy development group, explained that the idea of a "forested and green north" was to equip every northern Ghanaian farmer to ensure "all year round farming of food crops combined with long term economic trees such as mango, cashew, moringa and others."

He said the approach will ensure that community -driven development was combined with effective private sector investment to add value to products from northern Ghana to make them competitive on the sahelian markets of Bukina Faso, Mali ,Niger and northern Togo.

On infrastructure, he stated that the strategy will adopt an innovative approach to design and construct circular roads linking the three northern regions with the Sahel region, while opening-up the productive plains of Fumbisi Valley, the "overseas" areas, and the Katanga Valley, among others.

He mentioned that the strategy also focuses on rapid socio-economic growth and transformation; enormous efforts will also be directed towards improving livelihoods, aimed at ensuring social safety-nets for the poor and the vulnerable and maintaining peace.

Dr Sulley Gariba, Director of IPA confirmed that the Northern Ghana Development Strategy was part of efforts by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to prepare a long term development plan for Ghana, which stakeholders, including NGOs have persistently demanded.

He disclosed that the Northern development strategy will be financed primarily by the Northern Ghana Development Fund .He announced that a draft bill was being finalized to enable parliament to approve the creation of the fund. In addition, further consultations with the regional house of Chiefs in were planned for mid-October.

Dr Gariba concluded on a note that the oil find could also help to close the development gap between the north and the south.


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