Bawumia launches $450m Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion Project
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.
As “a very essential and timely intervention aimed at tackling several critical developing and recurring difficulties in the northern region of Ghana,” Dr. Bawumia called the project.
According to him, “The Project has been conceived and designed to address the effects of the spillover of conflicts and extremism from the Sahel Region; reduce vulnerability due to exposure to the impacts of climate change; strengthen local institutions; improve economic opportunities; and build public trust.”
The Vice President went on to say that for the Ghana initiative, the project will primarily target border towns in these areas, where the populace is most vulnerable to terrorism threats coming from the Sahel Region—especially women and young people.
In light of the predicted worsening of the situation if the essential actions are not swiftly implemented, countries all over the world are exploring plans to solve these difficulties, the Vice President added.
“The initiative, as it is now conceived, considers regional perspectives and the impact of the problems that the four nations share, while also permitting country-led actions that address local requirements.
It also makes use of experience-sharing on prevention of the Sahel’s spillover effects, fragilities, climate-related hazards, as well as conflict prevention by the impacted nations, in the four (4) participating Gulf of Guinea countries.
In order to give the populace, especially the most vulnerable, a voice to participate in, influence, and play a crucial role in prioritizing 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 spread 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.