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556 projects constructed, rehabilitated under first year of SOCO

Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, says the first year of the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project saw the construction and rehabilitation of 556 projects.

‘The 556 projects consist of 42 roads, 66 classroom blocks and teachers’ accommodation, 74 rural markets, 55 health facilities, 228 water facilities including mechanised boreholes, boreholes with hand pumps and small-town water systems,’ he said.

The SOCO had also created 3,748 jobs for community members through their participation in the construction of community infrastructure projects and strengthened the capacity of 4,709 local development actors including staff of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) for local development planning and management.

Again, 9,954 farmers and rural enterprises were receiving technical and financial support from the project.

Mr Amoah announced this at the SOCO Project Conference in Tamale, or
ganised by the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, in partnership with the World Bank, the six implementing Regional Coordinating Councils and MMDAs and other stakeholders of the Ministry.

The conference, held on the theme: ‘Leveraging Digital Tools for a Balanced and Coordinated Development in Northern Ghana’, focused on showcasing and deliberating on the project’s progress.

It also saw the launch of the digital Knowledge Management and Coordination Platform and the baseline study report of the project.

The SOCO is being implemented in 48 MMDAs in the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West and Oti regions to reduce vulnerability to climate change, strengthen local institutions, improve economic opportunities, build public trust and strengthen regional dialogue.

It is also to prevent the spread of violence from the Sahel region to the northern parts of the country.

The US$ 450 million multi-country project is being implemented in Ghana, Benin, Cote D’ Ivo
ire, and Togo, with support from the World Bank, and the Government of Ghana’s allocation is a total of US$ 150 million credit facility (Loan).

The conference was preceded by a visit to some beneficiary communities in the Northern Region to get first-hand information about the impact of the projects on the lives of the beneficiaries and the communities.

Mr Amoah said the progress made so far showed that out of the 16 indicator targets under the SOCO project, 13 had been exceeded indicating enormous progress towards achieving the project development objective.

He touched on the outlook for the second year, saying: ‘The implementation of the second cycle is about to commence with the submission of 736 infrastructural sub-projects for consideration and approval.’

‘This is categorised into 191 water facilities, 73 health facilities, 122 classroom blocks and accommodation for teachers, 34 roads, 62 markets, 35 culverts, 32 community ICT centres, 38 football/volleyball parks, tennis courts and 13 dams/irrigatio
n facilities.’

He said the projects would be awarded on contract by June 10, this year.

Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, said: ‘My region is a beneficiary of 51 sub-projects, which are all at various stages of completion. At the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, we have our eyes on the ball to ensure that these projects are completed on time and used for the intended purpose.’

Mr Robert Taliercio O’Brien, the World Bank Country Director, was impressed with the works done under the SOCO project, expressing confidence that they would contribute to addressing poverty in the beneficiary communities.

Source: Ghana News Agency