The Government has secured a credit facility from the World Bank to roll out the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project in 48 Districts across six Regions in Northern Ghana.
The SOCO project is a multi-country US$450 million credit facility to be implemented in Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Togo and Benin with the aim to provide support to the Northern parts of the Gulf of Guinea countries which suffer instabilities due to food insecurity, climate change, conflict and violence.
In Ghana, the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders would implement the project in all Districts in the Upper East Region, Northern, Upper West, North East, Savannah and Oti Regions.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day sensitization and orientation workshop on the project in Bolgatanga, the Sector Minister, Mr Daniel Botwe, said the Ministry received US$150 million out of the total sum.
“I am happy to say that the Ministry received 150 million US Dollars IDA/World Bank Credit Facility after Executive and Parliamentary Approvals on July 27 and 29 2022 respectively,” he told officials drawn from Municipal and District Assemblies of the Upper East and North East Regions.
He said the project had four components, which included investing in community resilience and inclusion with an allocated amount of US$112.5 million, representing 75 per cent of the project cost.
He said US$15 million, representing 10 per cent of the project cost, would go into building foundation and capacity for inclusive and resilient communities, US$7.5 million, representing five per cent, would also go into Regional Coordination Platform and Dialogue, while 10 per cent would be used for Project Management.
Mr Botwe said apart from the four components, there was the Contingent Emergency Response Component which had no allocated amount.
However, “Funds will be drawn into this account in the event of any natural disaster or pandemic.”
He said the project would be regularly monitored across the Regions and Districts to make sure, its intended purpose was achieved, “So we are not going to make it business as usual. That is why we are here to go through the project and get the understanding very well.”
In a speech read on her behalf, Madam Yvonne Quansah, the Director of the External Resources Mobilization and Economic Relations Division (ERMERD) of the Ministry of Finance, said unemployment, which was estimated at 13.4 per cent, would be mitigated with the implementation of the SOCO project.
She said the project through the Local Economic Development (LED) and the Community Driven Development (CDD) approaches would provide employment opportunities to beneficiary communities.
Madam Quansah said given the regional nature of the project, it would pay attention to border communities, considering the socio-cultural dynamics of the beneficiary communities, possibility of conflicts to escalate and the enormous trade benefits that could be derived from interactions.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu, called for positive attitudinal change from officials of the various Assemblies who would be directly involved in the project implementation across communities in their Districts for the project to succeed.