Savannah Accelerated Development Authority
The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) was established by Act 805, 2010 as an independent and autonomous statutory corporation to “provide a framework for the comprehensive and long-term development of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone”.
SADA has its constitutional foundations in Article 36 (2) (d) of the Fourth Republican Constitution, which states that “the state is enjoined in the directive principles of state policy to take the necessary steps to establish a sound and healthy economy through the undertaking of even and balanced development of all regions and improvement of conditions of life in the rural areas. Furthermore, imbalances in the development between the rural and urban areas should be redressed to ensure balanced regional development”.
The relative underdevelopment of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ) compared to the rest of the country has its roots in history and to some extent geography. In terms of history, the colonial authorities saw no immediate interest in investing in the place, failing to build roads, schools, health facilities and markets. Instead, they extracted its most healthy labour force and exported them to cocoa plantations, to the mines and to clean the streets in the emerging cities and towns in the South. This practice of labour extraction followed on centuries of human capture and exports to the coast and across the Sahara by slave traders and raiders penetrating the Savannah from both ends. Geography plays a part in the form of severe vulnerabilities associated with weather swings, intense heat, creeping desertification and natural disasters.
In spite of efforts by successive governments to address these imbalances, the NSEZ collectively still contributes the largest share of national poverty; the worst performance in terms of education outcomes as well as maternal and child health. The generally poor state of infrastructure means that the vast agricultural and other productive potentials that the region possess remain unexploited, resulting in low household per capita incomes and a less than satisfactory contribution to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ghana may be a low middle income country but the NSEZ, 40 per cent of Ghana’s land area and 30 per cent of its population, remains a least developed economy. Whilst Ghana as a whole has achieved the extreme poverty reduction Millennium Development Goals, the NSEZ has not.
In the early 2000s there was a renewed effort to tackle this problem. There was much talk about creating a special initiative for the traditional three regions of Northern Ghana (The Upper-East, Upper-West and Northern Regions). However the impetus to act came in 2007 when floods inundated hundreds of thousands of hectares of farm land and killed scores of people. This disaster generated national sympathy and resulted in calls for a comprehensive response to the disaster not only in terms of addressing the immediate effects but also the underlying conditions of underdevelopment that exacerbate the risks. The United Nations system called for a multi-donor initiative to support not just the response to the emergency but also for comprehensive development of the North.
Consequently, in 2008, the Government of President John Agyekum Kuffuor announced in his Sessional Address to Parliament, the establishment of a special initiative for Sustainable Development in Northern Ghana accompanied by a designated Northern Ghana Development Fund (NGDF) of 25 million Ghana Cedis (approximately US$25 million at the time) of seed capital for the initiative. This was the first time, after the 1st Republican government of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, that resources were earmarked for the North, based on the need to address the development disparities between the North and the South of Ghana.
This initiative was reabout_inforced by the incoming Government of the late President John Atta Mills in three ways: the coverage area was expanded to include districts of the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions that share similar ecological and social conditions and bordering the traditional Northern Ghana regions; the seed fund was enlarged and a delivery vehicle, in the form of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) was created by Act 805, 2010.
These formal initiatives would not have happened without evidence-based policy advocacy, mobilisation of citizen groups, cross-party consensus building, support by development partners and most of all the tenacity of the chiefs and people of the area to improve their circumstances. This determination to change the fortunes of the area and the belief in the transformational potential that it possesses is clearly captured by the ambitions of Act 805, 2010. Download Act 805 here
Mission & Vision
To catalyze the transformation of the NSEZ through citizens’ mobilization; strategic Planning; successful coordination, collaboration and facilitation (CCF), for effective public sector delivery and private sector investment.
A transformed Northern Savannah Ecological Zone(NSEZ); a place of opportunity and free from poverty.
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