The Northern, Upper West and Upper East Regions (three Northern Regions) are yet to attain middle-income status despite the fact that Ghana has recently achieved that status.
Dr. Sulley Gariba, Development Policy Advisor, who made the observation, said poverty levels were still high in the three Northern Regions.
He said average poverty level in the three northern regions was 62 percent while the national average was 18 percent, adding that “There is still a wide disparity of national development between the three Regions of the North and the Southern part of Ghana”.
Dr. Gariba was speaking at a sensitization forum on the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), organised by SEND-Ghana, a non-governmental organisation.
The event that was on the theme; “Making SADA work for all”, brought together several civil society organizations from the three Regions to brainstorm on the SADA.
Dr. Gariba said that poverty levels of the regions were improving and there was the need to work harder to achieve the desired development to raise the poverty levels.
He said SADA would by 20 years period reduce the poverty level in the Northern part of the country from 62 percent to 20 percent level of the national development average.
Dr. Gariba said SADA was seeking funding from various sources including the World Bank and DFID and that there were several financial funding sources aside that of government that could propel the area out of abject poverty.
He expressed concern that government was yet to vote the GH¢250 million seed capital to the SADA to enable it to start work effectively since the legality of its establishment had been finalized.
Dr. Hakeem Wemah of the Northern Development Forum asked the people from the Northern Ghana particularly the youth to acquire education to enable them to fill positions in the country’s oil sector.
He cautioned the government to ensure that SADA was not politicized adding that “If you employ somebody through political means, another political party would kicked him or her out”.
Dr. Wemah expressed concern about the continues cutting down of shea trees for charcoal, which according to him could affect the production of shea nut.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Moses Bukari Mabengba said SADA had moved from a political promise to an Act of Parliament, which would soon be implemented to improve the living conditions of the people.
He said government would bridge the gap between the Savannah areas of Northern Ghana and the rest of the country.
Mr. Mabengba called for intensive sensitization of the public about the goals of SADA adding that “When they are armed with such information, they can put themselves in readiness to participate in the implementation projects”.
He commended SEND-Ghana and the NDF for their continual sensitization of the people on SADA.