The Northern Ghana Youth Network for Development has commended the government for passing the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority bill.

The group believes the policy will not only tremendously benefit people of northern extraction, but Ghanaians as a whole.

This was contained in press statement issued in Accra.

Below is the full statement issued by the group.

PRESS RELEASE BY NORTHERN GHANA YOUTH NETWORK FOR DEVELOPMENT (NGYND) ON THE PASSAGE OF THE SAVANNA ACCELERATED DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (SADA) BILL ON AUGUST 10, 2010.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Northern Ghana Youth Network for Development (NGYND) congratulates the Professor Mills-led NDC Administration for the passage of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Bill. NGYND further wishes to commend the Parliament of Ghana for the attention devoted to the SADA Bill since its first reading in Parliament through to its passage. We are particularly appreciative of efforts of Members of the House for burying their political differences and putting a strong voice in the build up to the enactment of the SADA legislation which in NGYND’s view would inure to the public good of Ghanaians as a whole.

In the view of NGYND apart from the Northern Scholarship Programme introduced by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the Northern Development Fund as introduced by the NPP-led administration and SADA as introduced by President Mills’ administration are by far in our history the most comprehensive development blue prints tilted objectively towards a revolutionary transformation of the economy of Northern Ghana.

The SADA development agenda is particularly attractive taking cognizance of its all-encompassing form especially in agricultural development, human resource enhancement, industrialization, economic and social infrastructure. Thus, achieving the set goals is not farfetched especially if government speeds up the construction of the Bui Hydro Electric Project which will ensure security of power supply needed to fuel the laudable projects being pursued particularly the industrialization component.

NGYND further takes note of the fact that the illiteracy rates of the three Northern Regions of Ghana are quite disturbing and needs urgent attention if SADA is to start on a good footing. The rate for Upper West is even below the national average of 56%. Comparatively, the population growth rates of the North are above the national average of 3%. SADA’s goal of industrial development will thus be an illusion if we continue to have large sections of the society outside the literacy bracket. Whiles general literacy should be supported through the construction of new schools, motivation for teachers and scholarships for brilliant students to seek higher education, of particular interest to the success of SADA is technical education and agricultural technology transformation. SADA should therefore consider sponsoring students from the three northern regions to study in technical education both home and abroad to constitute the technical class to fast track the industrialization dimension of SADA.

It is the view of NGYND that the SADA model should consider as a priority drastic transformation of the transportation network, telecommunication, electricity and good drinking water in most parts of Northern Ghana in order to serve as incentives to attract investors. It is therefore imperative for government to make do its promise to extend railway lines to the North and to also consider building an international airport for Cargo transport in Northern Ghana. This will facilitate export of cash crops and other non-traditional exports such as sorghum and sheanut to be developed under SADA. It will also promote economic integration with our neighbours such as Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger and Mali.

For us in NGYND the most noticeable challenge facing the North and likely to undermine SADA is the absence of peace in some parts of the North. Whiles both justice and peace are being pursued to resolve these conflicts; it is germane for northerners to recognize that the pursuance of peace and justice ought not to be at the expense of poverty eradication. Underdevelopment breeds conflicts and conflicts deepen underdevelopment. Both justice and peace are necessary for development but it is also possible to pursue justice and peace alongside development activities. We must be able to achieve peace, justice and development simultaneously.

NGYND also notes with concern the seeming disunity between ethnic groups and disunity among regions in within Northern Ghana. In order for SADA to succeed, we as a people must wake up to the reality that we are the same and our friends from the South do not see any differences amongst us whether from the Upper East, Upper West or Northern Regions. Our developmental challenges and solutions are closely related.

Henceforth, we must therefore find a common ground to spearhead a united development agenda. To this effect, NGYND has put together a NORTHERN GHANA YOUTH DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT to come off in October prior to the launch of SADA. The Summit is themed ” Bridging the Capacity Gap of the Northern Youth: Issues, Challenges and Strategies for an Accelerated Savannah Youth Development.” for the youth drawn from the three northern regions of Ghana: Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions. NGYND also seeks to serve as a non partisan organization monitor closely the implementation of SADA to ensure that the objectives of the programme are not jeopardized.

As a conclusion, NGYND observes that if we have to fight poverty in the three Northern regions, we have to first free the mental poverty of our people. We need education, mental reorientation and awareness. We need to develop the ‘can do’ spirit as an integral part of our developmental process. For about half of a century now, some of us from the North have tried to glorify poverty as if we are condemned to be poor. This mindset has perpetuated our social fibre and has enslaved our potentials and abilities.

May we live to see SADA takeoff and succeed. Long live Northern Ghana and Ghana as a whole. Thank you.

SIGNED
Muhammed A. Yakubu
Executive Director-NGYND

Mark Stephen Kubire
Research and Policy Analyst

Contact: TEL: 0266352659 / 0244875783 Email: norydev@gmail.com

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