The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahammudu Bawumia has launched the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project, in Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region on Friday, 25th November 2022.
The Project is a US$450 Million Credit Facility secured from the International Development Association (IDA) and World Bank to be implemented in five (5) years, from 2022 to 2027 in Ghana, Cote d’Ívoire, Togo, and Benin.
Launching the Project, Dr. Bawumia stated that the SOCO Project as conceptualised, takes cognizance of regional perspectives and the impact of the issues common to the four countries in the Sahel Region. This is said will enable county-led actions that will respond to local needs.
The Vice President added that the Project also leverages experience sharing on prevention of the spill-over effect from the Sahe Reggion, fragilities, and climate-related risks in the four participating Gulf of Guinea countries as well as conflict prevention for the affected countries.
Also speaking at the launch, the sector Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development, Hon. Daniel Botwe assured Ghanaians that his Ministry will leave no stone unturned to ensure that proper supervision and monitoring of the project are carried out to succeed in its implementation.
The SOCO Project is aimed at addressing challenges of possible spillover conflicts and extremism in the Sahel Region to reduce vulnerability due to exposure to the impacts of climate change, strengthen local institutions, improve economic opportunities and build public trust.
It also focuses on border communities in the beneficiary countries where the citizenry, especially women and youth are exposed and susceptible to threats of terrorism from the Sahel Region. Thus, focusing on dealing with issues relating to Fragility, Conflicts, and Violence (FCV).
The Government of Ghana received US$150 out of the US$450 Million to work in 48 Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) within six (6) regions in Upper East, Upper West, Savannah, Northern, North East, and Oti.
In all, 15 Municipal and District Assemblies in the Upper East Region, 11 Municipal and District Assemblies in the Upper West Region, eight Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies in Northern Region, six Municipal and District Assemblies in North East four Municipal and District Assemblies in the Savannah Region and four Municipal and District Assemblies in the Oti Region are slated to benefit from the Project.
The Chairman of the occasion, Nangonaab Na-Pariyong Kosom Asaga Yelzoya II said since the sensitisation of the Project by the Ministry, beneficiary Municipal and District Assemblies have been eager for the roll-out of the intervention in their various jurisdictions, stating that plans and budgets have been put in place awaiting the disbursement, and assured the Ministry that beneficiary districts are fully aware of the rules and regulations governing the Project implementation.
The Chairman expressed gratitude to the Ministry and the World Bank for he described as a novel project which he said undoubtedly will address the challenges of poverty which is endemic in the north, and reposition the local economies, making them more resilient and sustainable.
In his address, the Country Director of the World Bank Piere Frank Laporte said the Gulf of Guinea project specifically targets vulnerable communities in the north, to proactively prevent the spread of conflict from the Sahel, reduce vulnerability to climate change, and strengthen local institutions.
Source: PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT (MLGDRD)