The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Shani Alhassan Shaibu, called for enhanced collaboration among key stakeholders to ensure effective project implementation during the Northern Development Forum held in Tamale on Tuesday, August 15, 2023.
The forum that was Organized by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, the forum aimed to facilitate discussions on key challenges affecting development in the region and establish a unified path toward achieving development aspirations. This initiative was part of the World Bank-funded Gulf of Guinea Social Cohesion (SOCO) Project, focusing on the Northern region of Ghana.
The Northern Development Forum provided a platform for stakeholders to engage in dialogues surrounding the development disparities between the Northern and Southern regions. Presentations and discussions centered on topics such as climate resilience, healthcare, agriculture, and collaboration strategies necessary to accelerate development in the area.
During the event, Hon. Shani Alhassan Shaibu acknowledged the region’s potential, stating, “Our Socio-economic circumstances have been quite challenging despite the natural resources we are endowed with.” He emphasized the importance of effective collaboration, cooperation, and collective action to ensure successful project delivery and positive impacts on the lives of the people.
Hon. Daniel Botwe, Minister for Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, emphasized the constitutional provisions for equitable development and highlighted the significance of coordinated efforts. He noted, “The Ministry appreciates the opportunity the Project presents for a more coordinated and integrated approach towards promoting development in the northern part of Ghana.”
The disparity in development despite numerous interventions by various stakeholders was a point of concern. Hon. Botwe pointed out that existing projects often lacked coordination, resulting in fragmented efforts. He highlighted the need for discussions and actions to address these challenges.
The forum also focused on collaboration with development partners, including the World Bank. Discussions centered on leveraging the $150 Million Credit Facility of the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) Project to drive coordinated and integrated development in the northern part of Ghana.
David Quaye Annang, Vice Chairman of the NDPC, emphasized the transformative power of collaboration and the need for local development efforts, especially in the context of the Gulf of Guinea Social Cohesion (SOCO) Project. He expressed optimism that the Northern Regional Forum would set a precedent for other regions to emulate.
The event concluded with a call to address the socioeconomic issues highlighted in the Northern Ghana Human Development Report (NG-HDR) published by the United Nations Development Programme-Ghana in 2021. The report underlined the significance of empowering local communities and promoting capacity building to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus on eradicating poverty.
The Northern Development Forum aimed to pave the way for more inclusive, collaborative, and impactful development efforts in Northern Ghana, addressing historical disparities and fostering a brighter future for the region.