The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is to launch a Human Development Report on Northern Ghana entitled ‘Bridging the Poverty Gap and Fostering Socio-Economic Transformation for All’.
The report explores development challenges and opportunities in Northern Ghana, and offers suggestions for poverty eradication in the zone.
The Northern Ghana Human Development Report (NG-HDR) is based on a study that investigated livelihood issues relating to health, education and infrastructure gaps, as well as governance and environmental issues. The findings suggest that the pattern of poverty in Northern Ghana is changing. It revealed that though the northern zone has witnessed good development over the years, more effort is required to transform the zone for the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – especially SDG 1 which aims to eradicate poverty in all its forms everywhere.
To ensure inclusive growth, the report recommends the use of a coordinated stakeholder-approach to address development gaps in road infrastructure; information, communications and technology (ICT); education and healthcare delivery; youth unemployment; energy access; data gaps for development planning; gender inequity; as well as high climate change impacts on agriculture and livelihoods.
The report suggests massive investments in infrastructure development and recognises the importance of complementing government’s ‘One Village One Dam’ initiative to boost agriculture production in the northern zone. It highlights how improvement in road and water transport networks and investment in warehousing, cold-chains and processing infrastructure will help increase value additions and reduce post-harvest losses to facilitate industrialisation in the zone.
Moreover, the importance of resource mobilisation and equitable allocation to help address the Human Development deficits in Northern Ghana – to ensure that “No One is Left Behind” – is emphasised by the report. The report therefore calls for strong partnerships among stakeholders to leverage synergies and ensure that local people are empowered to benefit and to drive transformation in the zone.
To improve quality education and healthcare delivery, the Human Development Report recommends innovative Public Private Partnerships that facilitate access to housing for health and education staff, in order to attract and retain staff in the education and health sectors – especially in rural communities of the northern zone.
In addition, the report identifies the promotion of conservation and climate change adaptation best practices, including tree-planting to reduce soil degradation and promoting water conservation particularly along streams and waterways; encouraging local community seedbanks and nurseries; and scaling-up agricultural extension services to support farmers.
Commenting on the report ahead of the launch, Ms. Gita Honwana Welch-UNDP Ghana Country Director, noted that the Northern Ghana Human Development Report, like other Human Development Reports produced by UNDP, provides baseline information on areas requiring development attention in the North.
“UNDP collaborated with the University for Development Studies (UDS), University of Ghana and Northern Development Authority (then Savanah Accelerated Development Authority) to produce this report. The findings and recommendations from the report are to inform and shape policy decisions that will propel transformational development in the north,” noted Ms. Welch.
UNDP Ghana has over the years produced national, district and regional reports for the country. The first regional Human Development Report was for the Western Region on the theme ‘Managing Development Opportunities for a Secure Future’. The Northern Ghana Human Development Report (HDR) is the second regional report developed by UNDP Ghana, but this is for the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (Upper East, Upper West, Northern Region and some parts of the Brong Ahafo and the Volta Regions).
The report will be launched at the University for Development Studies in Tamale on 17th August 2018, under the auspices of the Minister of Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour who will be giving the keynote address, and Dr. Alhaji Abdel-Majeed Haroun, Chief Executive Officer of the newly-established Northern Development Authority who will chair the launch.