President John Mahama has expressed high confidence in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to deliver on its mandate of spearheading the transformation of the three northern regions.
He said after a successful restructuring exercise, the authority had become more effective and efficient and could properly manage resources towards the development of the Savannah zone.
“I am satisfied with the new management and accountability systems, and the development plans by SADA,” he said, when he addressed a Northern Savannah Ecological Zone Development forum at Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region.
Organised by the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the Savannah Zone, the forum, attended by representatives of stakeholder institutions in the various sectors, was to discuss ways of accelerating the growth of the zone.
Aside from the restructuring, which followed recent reports of mismanagement, the President said SADA had done a lot of feasibility studies for agriculture and industrial projects, as well as a comprehensive land mapping which together, had laid a solid foundation for the economic transformation of the zone.
To support the Savannah zone’s development process, the President said the government had invested heavily in infrastructure such as roads, airports, irrigation systems, schools and training institutions, among others.
“While the SADA restructuring was going on, we have been investing in infrastructure across the Savannah zone,” he stressed.
According to him, more efforts would be made to effectively explore the huge agriculture and industrial potentials of the north, adding the zone had the potential of producing to feed the entire country and also make Ghana a net exporter of food.
“There are very bright prospects for the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone,” he stated, noting that SADA would not be able to achieve success without the cooperation of stakeholders and the active participation of the private sector.
President Mahama, therefore, appealed to traditional authorities in the zone to release land for projects that would benefit their areas and the nation in general.
In addition, he urged the private sector and especially wealthy indigenes of the north, to take active interest in the development process and invest in the zone to create opportunities that would halt the migration of the youth.
“Let us challenge ourselves. SADA will do its part, but we also need to do our part as individuals and organisations,” he said.
Charles Abugre, Chief Executive Officer of SADA, for his part, noted that the authority was a lot stronger than it is perceived in the media.
“We are working dilligently to industrialise the Savannah zone,” he said.
Bismark Abongo, Executive Secretary of the Coalition of CSOs, advocated for the adequate resourcing of the authority to enable it to effectively implement its projects.
From Edmund Mingle, Bolgatanga.