The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, officially initiated the construction of all 582 projects under the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) program. The symbolic groundbreaking ceremony took place at the palace of the Overlord of Dagbon, His Majesty Yaa-Naa Abukari Mahama II, in a short but vibrant event.
The SOCO Projects are underway in 48 beneficiary Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across six regions, predominantly in the northern part of Ghana. This initiative serves as a crucial intervention aimed at addressing emerging and recurring challenges in the region, as identified by experts.
The project encompasses beneficiary districts under a USD 150 million Credit Facility Project secured by the Government of Ghana from the World Bank. These include eight District Assemblies in the Northern Region, six in the Northeast, all fifteen District Assemblies in the Upper East, eleven in the Upper West, four in Savannah, and four in Oti.
The SOCO Project, as explained by officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization, and Rural Development, is designed to tackle the effects of conflicts and extremism spilling over from the Sahel Region. It aims to reduce vulnerability due to climate change, strengthen local institutions, improve economic opportunities, and build public trust.
Vice President Bawumia, speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony, underscored the government’s commitment to addressing the growing human and security threats in the Sahel Region. He emphasized that the project focuses on border communities, where citizens, especially women and youth, are exposed to the threats of terrorism from the Sahel Region.
The first phase of the project in 2023 aims to deliver socio-economic community-level climate-resilient infrastructure, youth and women’s skills development, and other essential aspects. These projects include the provision of water, construction of school buildings, health facilities, markets, earth dams, and other critical physical infrastructure.
The initiative has already created job opportunities for 434 Community Facilitators (CFs) and other specialists. It is expected to improve access to basic social and economic services, promote local economic development, gender equality, and enhance environmental management when executed efficiently.
The regions and districts benefiting from the project have been meticulously selected based on Vulnerability Index Criteria, which considers exposure to security risk, climate vulnerability, poverty incidence, and unemployment rates.
The Vice President urged all implementing agencies, at both national and sub-national levels, to remain dedicated to the project’s successful execution. He emphasized the importance of adhering to schedules, as delays will not be tolerated.
The Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development, Hon. Daniel K. Botwe, assured traditional leaders and residents that the Ministry would work closely with stakeholders to ensure the project’s smooth implementation.
Hon. Farouk Aliu Mahama, the Member of Parliament for Yendi, expressed his gratitude to the government for the SOCO project, which he believes will bring real development to the region and its communities.
With the launch of this project, the government aims to address vulnerabilities and promote socio-economic development in the northern regions of Ghana. The construction of essential infrastructure and the creation of employment opportunities are expected to uplift local communities and improve their resilience to various challenges.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH