World Bank commits US$150 million to SOCO project

SOCO project
SOCO project

The World Bank have committed US$150 million financing for Ghana out of US$450 million from its International Development Association to address vulnerable communities in the northern region to prevent the spread of conflict from the Sahel region.

The finance is on the backdrop for the successful launch of the Ghana Gulf of Guinea Northern Region Social Cohesion (SOCO) Project aimed at improving regional collaboration and the socio-economic and climate resilience of border-zone countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin to curb conflicts and climate risks.

The Project consequently seeks to prevent the spread of conflicts from the Sahel, reduce vulnerability to climate change, strengthening local institutions, economic opportunities and public trust.

It is being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD) of which 48 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across 6 regions in the northern part of the country will benefit and it’s in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

The five year project commencing from 2022 to 2027 is located in six regions namely, Northern, North East, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah and Oti.

Speaking at the Deep Dive workshop with development partners dubbed, “Promoting Coordinated and Integrated Development in northern Ghana under the auspices of the Ghana SOCO project, in Accra, the Operations Manager for World Bank Ghana, Mr. Agata Pawlowska said the World Bank is deeply committed in collaborating with government to address spatial and other inequalities, improve socio-economic environment and strengthen governance to private inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

According to him, challenges at the northern part of Ghana calls for stakeholder engagements particularly Development Partners (DPs) to work assiduously with each other to explore joint solutions to help address threats in a collective effort and coordinated manner under the SOCO project.

“The northern regions of Ghana lacks access to critical infrastructure such as roads, markets, electricity public services”, he said pointing out that the possibility of spillover of Fragility, Conflicts and Violence (FCV) from the Sahel sub-regions raises insecurity and political instability in the country.

The Board Chair of the Northern Development Authority (NDA) Dr. Sulemana Abdulai said threats from the Gulf of Guinea countries cannot be under estimated hence the SOCO project is timely and therefore stakeholders must explore channels to promote peace in the region.

He further challenged stakeholders to live up to the tenets of the SOCO project to help curb emerging threats to peace and security to neighbouring countries.

For his part, the Chief Director of MLGDRD, Mr. Amin Abdul-Rahaman said his outfit have put in place the needed structures to scale up the project in the needed communities across the northern regions.

According to him, the SOCO project have created a platform and a working tool for other institutions to be abreast with the emerging trends and dynamics on the project in the northern parts of Ghana.

Report by Ben LARYEA

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