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Business News of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Source: BTA News

Stakeholders share experiences with SADA

Savannah Accelerated Development (SADA) as part of efforts to ensure development and wealth creation in the savannah regions, has held a stakeholders forum in Accra with partners from Brazil and Singapore to gain insight into how they (Singapore and Brazil) have been able to successfully develop their ecological zones in their respective countries and what form of assistance they could offer the country to help bring accelerated development to the three Northern Regions.

The ultimate goal was to solicit views from international partners to brainstorm on the way forward for SADA. The stakeholders noted that Ghana must adapt other sources of renewable energy in order to minimize their dependence on hydro power, while taking into consideration the Interests of investors for successful development.

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is an independent agency for coordinating a comprehensive development agenda for the northern Savannah ecological zones in Ghana.

This comprises the three Northern regions of Ghana namely, Upper East, Upper West and the Northern regions, and stretches to include districts contiguous to the Northern region that are located in the North. SADA constitutes Ghana’s response to effects of climate change associated with floods and draught.

The agency’s main thrust is to promote sustainable development using the notion of a forested and green north to catalyse climate change reversal and improve livelihoods of the most vulnerable citizens in the area, especially women and children. Over the past years SADA has chalked some successes and encountered some challenges also, which can mostly be blamed on high levels of bureaucracy, lack of available land, financing and lack of expertise.

Notable among the recommendations proposed by the Singaporean and Brazillian counterparts include calls for the establishment of development banks to finance public projects through a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement as well as alternative source of funding such as sovereign wealth funds.

According to them the Brazilian Development Bank has played a major role in financing key projects undertaken by the Brazilian Savannah Development Authority.

Further to this, stakeholders advocated for institutional capacity and pointed out that political leadership is critical in equipping the outfit. Knowledge transfer and the establishment of a Land Trust with SADA as the Trustee also emerged as a major area of concern.

It was said that Tamale, Yendi and Kintampo have potential for growth and development.

In an interview with BTA the CEO of SADA, Charles A. Abugre, identified some challenges faced by SADA and offered a variety of solutions. A Singaporean stakeholder, Dr Victor Koh who was present at the meeting shared some light on what he believes can be done to avert some of the challenges encountered by SADA.

He said there is a need for a master plan to be put in place as well as a stable leadership with a similar vision for development in order to see improvement.

The Commissioner for the national development planning commission (NDPC), Prof. Kwame Ahwoi, who chaired the forum said he believes if the issues discussed were rightly implemented, they will go a long way in averting some of the deficiencies confronting SADA. He said that it is imperative for the ministry of finance to be involved in the decision making process.