VP Bawumia launches $450m Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion Project

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In Bolgatanga, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has unveiled the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) Project, a multi-nation development initiative.

In response to the emergence of extremism in the West African sub-region, the Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin governments secured a $450 million multi-country credit facility project called the SOCO Project from the World Bank. The project aims to improve facilities and security in the northern regions and border towns of the four West African nations.

Vice President Bawumia announced the project’s launch on Friday, November 25, 2022, in Bolgatanga, and disclosed that the government of Ghana had secured US $150 million of the $450 million facility to implement the project in forty-eight (48) Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in six regions of the nation, distributed as follows:
Northern has eight (8) District Assemblies, North East has six (6), Upper East has all fifteen (15) and Upper West has all eleven (11) District Assemblies, Savannah has four (4) and Oti has four (4) District Assemblies.

Dr. Bawumia described the project as “a very important and timely intervention aimed at addressing some key emerging and recurring challenges in the northern part of Ghana.”

“The Project has been conceived and designed to address the effects of the spill over of conflicts and extremism from the Sahel Region; reduce vulnerability because of exposure to the impacts of climate change; strengthen local institutions; improve economic opportunities and build public trust,” he added.

For the Ghana project, the Vice President further explained that the project will focus mostly on border communities in these regions, where the citizenry especially women and youth are exposed and susceptible to the threats of terrorism from the Sahel Region.

“This is very significant as countries all over the world are pursuing strategies to address these challenges in view of the anticipated worsening of the situation if the necessary interventions are not promptly instituted,” said the Vice President.

“The project as conceptualized, takes cognizance of regional perspectives and impact of the issues that are common to the four countries, whilst enabling country led actions that respond to local needs. It also leverages experience sharing on prevention of the spill over effects from the Sahel, fragilities, climate-related risks in the four (4) participating Gulf of Guinea countries, as well as, conflict prevention by the affected countries,” he added.

In order to give the populace, particularly the most vulnerable, a voice to participate in, influence, and play a crucial role in the prioritization of local development investments, as well as to promote social cohesion and build trust in their communities, the project will also prioritize the needs of communities and strengthen local institutions.

The expansion of war from the Sahel has put the lives of over sixteen million people living in the northern regions of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo in danger for about ten years, making them more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Source: Ghanatodayonline.com

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