Six Municipal, and District Assemblies (MDAs) have signed an agreement to establish a special purpose vehicle known as the Northern Ghana Inter-Municipality Cooperation (NorGIC) to support their activities towards maintaining the agro-pastoral infrastructure within their jurisdictions.
They are Gushegu Municipal, and Karaga District in the Northern Region, Pusiga District, Bawku West District, and Bawku Municipal in the Upper East Region, and East Mamprusi Municipal in the North East Region.
The six MDAs, in line with the NorGIC, have also consequently signed another agreement with the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), a Tamale-based NGO, allowing the GDCA to support by running the NorGIC for some time and finally hand it over to them to manage by themselves.
Coordinating Directors of the six MDAs signed the two agreements on behalf of their Assemblies while Dr Osman Al-Hassan, Board Chairman of GDCA, signed on behalf of the GDCA at a ceremony in Tamale.
This is in line with the Supporting Agro-Pastoralism to Reinforce Social Cohesion in the Cross-Border Territories of Ghana – Burkina Faso (SAPSOC) project being implemented by the GDCA with funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom.
The GDCA, and its subsidiary organisation; Changing Lives in Innovative Partnerships (CLIP), had earlier implemented the PARSAO and PAMOBARMA projects in the six MDAs with the global objective to protect the mobility of herds and their access to pastoral resources and markets within the West Africa sub-region.
As part of the projects, which were funded by the European Union, Acting for Life, and the French Agency for Development (AFD), the GDCA, and CLIP provided agro-pastoral infrastructure such as livestock corridors, loading ramps, transhumance camps, livestock markets amongst others in the six MDAs to boost livestock mobility and production, increase economic activities and revenue mobilisation.
Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahman, Executive Director of GDCA, speaking at the ceremony to sign the agreements, explained that “The question is; how do we maintain this infrastructure? So, the first step is to have a kind of special purpose vehicle that can work with all the Assemblies that are beginning to work together so that they can take responsibility of ensuring that the benefits of the infrastructure continue to flow, which means that they can ensure the maintenance of the infrastructure and at the same time even take interventions to actually get more income.”
Alhaji Abdel-Rahman described the agreements as a very great opportunity because “As Assemblies, sometimes we are not able to access certain opportunities, and so, setting up a vehicle like this can actually help the Assemblies to get some resources in addition to what they already receive from the central government, donors amongst others.”
He urged the Assemblies to take the initiative very seriously saying “The whole issue is about accountability. So, be prepared to provide information that is needed in an open manner and you should call all those, who are managing the NorGIC, to account from time to time so that everybody can have trust in the institution. Once we do that very often, that means that our operations are going to be limitless.”
Alhaji Mohammed Issahaku, Bawku Municipal Coordinating Director, who spoke on behalf of his colleague Coordinating Directors after signing the agreements, assured of their commitment to ensure that the NorGIC succeeded.