Northern Development Authority
The Northern Development Authority (NDA), Ghana has launched a progressive initiative to prepare the Regional Concept Plan for the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ) comprising of 5 Regions; Detailed Master Plans for the Cities of Tamale and Buipe; and a Land Management System for Tamale City. For this purpose, Surbana Jurong has been working closely with the Ghanaian professionals and stakeholders comprising of the Town and Country Planning Development, National Development Planning Commission, professional commissions and local authorities to deliver the respective tasks of the project.
The project has progressively reached Task 3 of preparing the Regional Concept Plan, after the completion of the initial activities including data inventory, GIS database creation, context analysis, as well as socio-economic study to assess the dimensions of growth and identify potentials in NSEZ
Located in the West Africa Region, Ghana is bordered by the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean to the south, Cote d’Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and Togo to the east. The Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ) covers approximately 54% of the country’s total land area in Northern Ghana and has an existing population of 5.3 million. An existing analysis of region, national and NSEZ context concludes the development issues and opportunities to guide the preparation of the Concept Plan. The key issues facing the NSEZ include an agriculture dependant economy; unemployment and low productivity; low literacy and low levels of social facilities; lack of a developed and integrated transport and infrastructure; as well as the threat of environmental degradation.
However, the NSEZ possesses significant comparative advantages and has tremendous untapped potential. A socio-economic modelling was conducted which estimates that the NSEZ will house a total of 12 million population and create over 7.8 million jobs by 2040 with a projected high growth scenario. This hence, forms the primary basis of the planning process. Accordingly, a strategic direction for positioning and structuring of the NSEZ is proposed to meet the demands of the future outlook of the zone.
While Southern Ghana will continue to spearhead the economic development in the country, considering the accessibility, resource availability and population size, the NSEZ will tap into the domestic and regional markets as the:
- Food Basket of Ghana
- Gateway to/for Burkina Faso & Sahel
- Shopping Destination for Burkina Faso & population of Northern Togo & Cote d’Ivoire
- Adventure Holiday Destination for SouthernGhanaians
- Lower Cost of Processing & Service Centre
How the future looks
The labour market in NSEZ is expected to undergo a shift that reflects the change in the economic structure, as industry and services divert employment from the rural agricultural sector to urban areas. Manufacturing and agriprocessing will become more important as downstream processing of agricultural products becomes more common. The service sector will benefit from the setting up of logistics capabilities in the north as well as capitalizing on digital services related to banking, finance and commercial activities. Furthermore, the tourism, healthcare and education sectors will also benefit from increased investor interest.
The economic modelling suggests creation of 7.8 million jobs in NSEZ by 2040 under the high growth scenario where agriculture (43-50%) will still remain the main economic driver followed by service (26-39%) and industry sector (15-27%). The income of NSEZ is also projected Citiesto increase from 2,623 to 22,000 Ghc per capita. The distribution of employment by region and by major cities. Major cities are the main economic engines, and account for much larger portion of the employment in service and industry sectors. The other urban settlements and rural areas will support more agro-production and its value chains focusing on small-scale processing.
How you can join
Despite the challenges, there are potential opportunities to improve the existing situation of the population. They are:
- Capitalise on the strong urban population growth and densities along the major transport corridors connecting to the South, particularly in the North-East and South- East regions. It offers a great potential for intensifying urban densities that will bring in more economic and social development opportunities for NSEZ.
- Identify the potential economic development opportunities of each region that can help to stimulate and diversify growth across the entire NSEZ in ensuring a holistic and sustainable long-term development of the ecological zone.
- Reduce North-South migration levels and retain the population by diversification of the predominantly agrarian economy and increase employment opportunities.
- Position and further grow the regional capitals including Tamale and Bolgatanga into key urban centres with specified functions to catalyse the overall development of NSEZ. This can create spillover effects on the relatively weaker regions including the Upper West.
- Improve provision of adequate and quality basic infrastructure and facilities to drive economic growth and urbanization.
- Enhance the attractiveness of NSEZ in terms of improvement in education and knowledge, skill sets, and employment opportunities.
The NDA masterplan work areas
- Agricultural Context
- Environmental Context
- Economic Context
- Social Infrastructure
- ICT Infrastructure
- Population, Urbanization & Human Settlement
- Power Supply
- Tourism & Heritage
Ample land of the NSEZ is today dedicated to agriculture and livestock. The total cultivated area in the NSEZ is estimated to 20,313 km2. The sector employs approximately 74% of the local population and produces some 34% of the total national crop production. Many different types of crops are cultivated in the NSEZ, in addition to livestock like cattle, sheep, goats, guinea fowls and chickens, as well as fishing and aquaculture.
Crops are divided into two categories, namelyfood crops and cash crops. The food crops, although, take up a much larger amount of agriculture land. The main food crops for the NSEZ are yam and cassava, which the production is the highest for the Northern Region, Brong Ahafo Sub-region and the Upper West Region.
However, the NSEZ possesses a strong advantage and an almost exclusivity in the culture of groundnut, cowpea, millet, soybean and sorghum due to particular propitious soil and climate conditions for these kinds of crops. Moreover, soybean, sorghum, groundnut, cowpea and millet, or SSGCM are found to have high yields in the three northern regions.
The whole region is predominantly flat with low elevation. The elevation map indicates three hilly chains: around Kintampo stretching from Techiman to Jerusalem; in Mole National Park along the north-south direction; and in the north-west from Walewale to the international border with Togo. The only mountainous area in the NSEZ is located in the Volta sub-region and spreads from Nkwanta to Hohoe. The Volta Basin covering the major eastern part of the NSEZ, from the eastern border to Mole National Park has a homogeneous low altitude plains (50 to 200m), whereas the western territory appears to be higher in elevation (200 to 400m). Such terrain with low general elevation and weak slopes, offers suitable land for mechanized agriculture. However, the low terrain is also susceptible to frequent flooding during heavy rain.
The NSEZ is drained by an extensive network or rivers and streams that connect to the Black and White Volta, both flowing into the Volta Lake, which is the major water body in the west- African subcontinent. These rivers and streams are strong assets for fishing and also transport purposes. The rich hydrology and stream network offer especially favourable terrain for irrigation and dam projects.
There are 4 agro-ecological zones in theNSEZ: Guinea Savannah for most of the area, Transitional zone for the southern part of the Brong Ahafo Sub-Region, Deciduous forest for the southern portion of the Volta Sub-Region and Sudan Savannah in the north-east of the Upper East Region. Majority of the NSEZ falls under savannah and transitional zones, which are favourable for legume and cereal crops cultivation.
The Soil Suitability study indicates large portions of land categorised as fairly and fairly to marginally suitable for cultivation of crops. The extreme south and upper east also present land highly suitable for extensive mechanized cultivation of export and food crops. Consequently, the NSEZ has ample proportion of good soil suitable for agriculture, crops and livestock.
NSEZ has a predominantly rural population that engages in subsistence agriculture activities, resulting in lower outputs of incomes and productivity as compared to the Southern parts of Ghana. It is estimated that NSEZ only contributes 14% of the total national GDP of Ghana in 20134 at USD 10.1 billion. Among which, the NSEZ contributes to almost 40% of the total agriculture GDP in Ghana. Breaking down further to the district level of contribution towards Ghana’s total GDP, it is evident that the regional capitals generate the highest income and are the main economic drivers in NSEZ.
It is also observed that the higher income producing districts are typically located along the North-South corridors in the eastern part of NSEZ, similar to the pattern of urban settlement growth. From the perspective of regional economic productivity, the entire NSEZ has a lower than average value addition per worker in Ghana. In particular, the Northern Region has the lowest value addition per worker within NSEZ even though it has the highest GDP contribution to the nation’s total income. This evidence therefore reinforces the low productivity, as a result of the prevalence of agricultural activities
There is a disparity in the accessibility to basic services between the Southern Ghana and the NSEZ on the national level. In terms of the level of deprivation of basic services, most of the districts in NSEZ with the exception of the regional capitals, have high deficiency of basic services including water, sanitation and electricity. The situation is apparently the worse in both the Upper West and Upper East Regions, whereby more than half of each region have a deprivation score of as high as 90 (with a score of 100 as total deprivation).
Furthermore, a regional comparison of the type and level of deficiency of basic services in the urban areas reveals that there is high level of deficit of over 80% of W.C., solid and liquid waste disposal in all the 5 regions in NSEZ (Fig.3.25). Generally, more than 60% of the regions have access to electricity, followed by 40% of piped water. Notably, the urban areas in Upper East Region has the highest deficit of both electricity and piped water within NSEZ.
The national context for ICT Development is guided by the Ghana ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) Policy which was formulated in 2003. The ICT4AD list down the following 14 pillars for defining the focus and priority of ICT Development in Ghana:
Accelerated Human Resource Development
Promoting ICTs in Education – The Deployment and Exploitation of ICTs in Education Facilitating Government Administration and Service Delivery – Promoting Electronic Government and Governance
Facilitating the Development of the Private Sector
Developing an Export-Oriented ICT Products and Services Industry
Modernization of Agriculture and the Development of an Agro-Business Industry
Developing a Globally Competitive Value-Added Services Sector --- A Regional Business
Service and ICT Hub
Deployment and Spread of ICTs in the Community
Promotion of National Health
Rapid ICT and Enabling Physical Infrastructure Development
Legal, Regulatory, and Institutional Framework Provisions
R&D, Scientific and Industrial Research Capacity Development
Promoting Foreign and Local Direct Investment Drive in ICTs.
Population, Urbanization & Human Settlement
Following the population growth trend of overall Africa continent and Western Africa region, the population in Ghana has quadrupled from around 6 million to over 24 million between 1960 and 2010 with an average annual growth rate of 2.5% between 2000 to 2010. Urbanization has also taken place extensively with the doubling of urban population share from 23% to 50.9% in the past 50 years. Theurban population though has been increasing at a decreasing rate from an average of 4.7% annually during 1960 to 1970 to 4.2% during 2000 to 2010. Nevertheless, with future population growth and economic development, the share of urban population in Ghana is likely to continue to grow significantly. This will have a critical impact on the future physical and social infrastructure development in Ghana over the next decades in view of meeting the growing demand arising from the increase population given this historical trend.
NSEZ is drained by a large number of streams and rivers flowing southward with the Atlantic Ocean as the final discharge point.
Due to the proximity to the Sahara Dessert, NSEZ is much drier than southern areas of Ghana. There are two seasons in NSEZ; wet season is between May and October and dry season is between November and April. The average annual rainfall increases from 750 mm to 1300 mm from north to south of NSEZ.
NSEZ has a generally flat terrain with small desert mountains. Storm water runoff naturally flows southward through the various streams
Power Supply in Ghana comes from two main sources:
Hydro Power Plant (55%)
Thermal Power Plant (45%)
The main power source in Ghana is Hydro Power which includes 3 numbers of main hydro power plants named Akosombo (1020MW), Bui (400MW) and Kpong (160MW). Total power generation for 2014 is 5683GWh, 1017GWh and 700GWh respectively. The second power source is thermal power. There are total 8 thermal power plants in Ghana with 1130MW generation capacity and power generation in 2014 is 7317.3GWh. The Kpone (230MW) and Takoradi 2 (110MW) power plants are near term projects which will be connected to the national grid in 2016. Table 3.7 summarizes the power plants and installed grid electricity generation capacity as of Dec 2014. and rivers towards the Atlantic Ocean. Three main river systems, namely the Volta Basin, South-Western Basins and Coastal Basin make up the natural drainage catchments of the country, covering 70%, 22% and 8% of Ghana’s land surface respectively30. NSEZ lies within the Volta Basin which is comprised of several major drainage catchments such as the Oti, White and Black Volta, as well as many minor catchments such as the Daka, Pru and Sene (Fig.3.108). The White and Black Volta Rivers converge to form the Lake Volta which is the world’s largest manmade reservoir by surface area.
The mining industry is one of the key economic sectors of Ghana, contributing to more than 5% of the national GDP. Minerals make up a significant 37% of total exports, among which gold contributes over 90% of the total mineral exports23. As one of the top ten gold producing country in the world, Ghana remains as the second largest gold producer in Africa and thus the main focus of Ghana’s mining and minerals industry have been particularly on gold.
Currently, gold production of the country is congregated at the South (Fig. 3.84). The largest gold mine in the country, Tarkwa Gold Mine, is located at the Western region at southwestern Ghana, approximately 300 kilometres by road west of Accra. This probably explains for the large concentration of the headquarters of mining companies in Accra and Tema.
There are currently about 4,500 km of national, 2,600 km of inter-regional, and 7,900 km of regional trunk roads in Ghana that connect the regions, districts and towns. Four major transport corridors are identified, out of which three are key North-South connections. They are:
Central corridor linking Accra/Tema, Kumasi, Tamale, Bolgatanga and the border-crossing at Paga, as well as connecting to Sekondi- Takoradi.
Coastal corridor linking the urban settlements along the coast including Tema, Accra, Cape Coast and Sekondi Takoradi. Accra, Kumasi,Sunyani and Dormaa are additionally bound together with the old N6 highway.
Eastern corridor linking the urban centres in the Volta Region with Greater Accra and the Northern Region.
Western corridor connecting Kumasi, Sunyani, Sawla, Wa and Hamale. However, it is noted that the road links are weak in the southern part of the western corridor, and lacks connectivity to the south-west and south-east directions.
Tourism & Heritage
Ghana is one of the top tourist destinations in Africa. The country proposes various tourism sites and opportunities for visitors: eco-tourism, culture and history, craft, festivals and events. In 2011, more than 1 million people visited Ghana, captivated by the charms of the Volta. Lake shores, the fascinating historical heritage, the rich culture and the stunning wildlife of the Ghanaian National Parks.
The distribution of visitors over the different sites in the country shows a strong concentration in the south: Cape Coast, Takoradi, Kakum National Park, Kumasi, Accra and the Volta southern lakefront attract most of the tourists. “The triangle of Accra-Kumasi-Cape Coast remains forms the core of tourism development and activity within Ghana”18. Tourism is comparatively less vibrant in the NSEZ with few tourist sites and not as popular as the southern attractions: Mole National Park, Kintampo and its surroundings, Bolgatanga & Paga.
Tamale is poised to become the central hub of NSEZ with an SEZ focused on industry and services. Reflecting this vision, the share of Tamale’s projected GDP is expected to be dominated by services and industry sector at 54% and 44% respectively in 2040. The sectoral employment structure will mirror the new economic structure with 46% of the labour market being employed in industry and 52% in services, due to the more labour-intensive nature of industrial jobs. As a commercial and services hub in the north, Tamale will become an urban metropolis with a variety of jobs in the service sector including finance and trade, tourism, logistics, education, as well as supported by other jobs in manufacturing and agri-processing. Thus, the employment will also reflect the structure of these clusters within Tamale.
Buipe will twin with Tamale and be positioned as an SEZ with a focus on heavier industry and river-based services. The economic structure of Buipe will thus be built around manufacturing and agri-processing, with a strong role for river and road-based logistics and warehousing capabilities. As a heavy industry centre it will also be an important production base for inputs such as cement, construction materials and, iron and steel products. It is estimated that the over three-quarter of Buipe’s total GDP in 2040 will be contributed by the industry sector at 77% and 69% of the total labour market will employed in this sector with the majority in manufacturing.