President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday announced that government has released GH¢ 200,000 for the establishment of the Centre for African Development at the Tamale Campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS).

He appealed to the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to make efficient use of research findings and recommendations as community based solutions to the development needs of their areas.

President Mahama announced this at a special congregation of the Tamale Campus of the University for Development, where doctor of letters was conferred on former President Jerry John Rawlings.

The programme also attracted former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, academicians and members of the diplomatic corps.

The centre would help researchers to engage in programmes and researches that would bring out the best from the indigenous communities and their activities.

President Mahama said the mission of the UDS is to provide students with the realities at the communities and their findings could serve as recommendations for government and other development partners to utilise for development.

He said the country could only achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by closing the disparities in infant and maternal mortality rate between the northern and southern sectors of the country.

He appealed to the Ministry of Health to step up its educational programmes to stem the incidence.

President Mahama called on educational institutions to work towards the creation of entrepreneurial skills among the youth throughout the country, pledging government's determination to offer appropriate support for the realisation of these goals.

On Roads, President Mahama gave the assurance that the eastern corridor road would be executed, while the Upper East and West Regions would be connected with a first class road through Tumu.

He said the Tamale Airport would also be upgraded into an international status and appealed to the business community to take advantage of development projects to create jobs for the teeming youth.

Professor Haruna Yakubu, Vice Chancellor of the UDS said the conferment of the doctorate degree on former President Rawlings was to recognise his initiative in the establishment of the university and his personal contribution of $ 50,000 as seed money for the establishment of the institution.

He said the University which started with an initial student population of 40 students 20 years ago now has a total population of 21,000 students in the three main campuses of the academic entity.

Professor Yakubu gave the assurance that the university in the coming years would expand facilities to increase students’ intake.

Former President Rawlings commended the management of the university for the award and urged them to be steadfast in their search for academic excellence.

He pledged to continue to intensify his role as an ambassador of UDS in the coming years.

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