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Opinions of Monday, 24 April 2017

Columnist: Zuberu Aliu

Stakeholder engagement, key to one-district –one factory project

By Zuberu Aliu

Many pundits argue that no nation develops unless it embraces industrialization. Economic empowerment of all citizens should be at the centre of government policies.

There are shining examples within the African continent and beyond in the area of industrialization leading to job creation. Tanzania for instance, is reported to have created 1,423 industries within twelve months.

Ghana’s industrialization drive has received a major boost with the government flagship programme of ‘one-district-one factory. This programme is one of the major policies by the Akufo Addo led government. Although this project has gained popularity among many Ghanaians, it will not be far from failing if stakeholders are not properly engaged.

Development initiatives in any form will either succeed or fail. But many of the failures are the results of lack of effective communication and participation.

The one-district one-factory project has some elements of decentralization, moving away from the usual norm of doing everything in the national capital. The initiative if properly implemented will help improve infrastructure and economies of the local communities.

Undoubtedly, effective communication is one surest way to support the efficient implementation and success of this project. Over the years, projects are designed at the top and push onto the local people.

Some describe this as imposition. This method naturally, will create some gaps in project implementation. There are cases where classroom blocks are constructed in communities only to serve as white elephants. This is possible because the beneficiaries are usually not involved in such projects.

A new day has arrived and Ghanaians must change our way of doing things. It is prudent for stakeholders to engage the local people in the design of the proposed factories. Such engagements will provide platforms for knowledge sharing, consultation and empowerment.

Effective communication and participation will ensure security for investors while government directs her attention to other areas.

Ghana has a number of land dispute cases that remain unresolved. Engaging all stakeholders through effective communication could help bury all the rows. Also, the security forces must step up their game in preventing violent conflicts. Rushing to contain violence is costly and may not encourage investors.

Aliu Zuberu