Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - President John Dramani Mahama has invited the World Bank to support a new poverty eradication programme developed by the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) for the northern Savannah ecological zone.
The programme, he said, was similar to the Sahel initiative and expressed the hope that if it were extended to cover the entire Savannah area, it would help address extreme poverty in the three northern regions.

President Mahama made the call at a joint press conference with the World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, at the Flagstaff House Friday.

The two had earlier met at a closed-door meeting.

Dr Kim was in the country for the launch of the Africa Poverty Report in Accra.

President Mahama said the Savannah region has over 11 million hectares suitable for commercial agriculture under both rain-fed and irrigation conditions.

He indicated that what was needed was infrastructural development, private sector investment and management of delivery models to get things going.

“Through the bank’s new guarantee scheme, if we can mobilise the combined facilities they did for the Sankofa project, we should be able to come out with another groundbreaking programme to help put some real and concrete programmes in place behind the call for eradication of poverty by 2030,” he said.

President Mahama mentioned that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme was making positive impact on the lives of many poor people.

He said with new pockets of poverty developing in the coastal areas, there was the need for new alternative livelihood programmes for the fishing communities.

The President thanked the World Bank for the role they played in the Ebola response and added that with the control of the disease still some distance away, there was the need for additional support to save the situation.

President Mahama also said although Africa had made some giant strides in reducing extreme poverty, there were still millions of people living in that condition, and expressed the hope that extreme poverty could be eradicated by 2030.

He stressed the need for African countries to identify some real transformational initiatives, especially in the areas of agriculture and agro-processing.

Dr Kim admitted that eradicating extreme poverty would face serious challenges, especially during this period of low global economic growth, low commodity prices and pending interest rates hikes.

“But if countries make tough decisions to attract necessary reforms to their growth; invest in their people, and provide measures so that people don’t fall back into poverty, we can end extreme poverty in 15 years,” he said.

The World Bank boss commended African countries such as Ghana that had worked so hard at reducing poverty.

“We see three reasons for Ghana’s success. The first is structural transformation – a shift out of agriculture translated into an increase in non-agricultural self-employment, and, to a lesser degree, wage jobs.

“The second is Ghana invested in education for its people, and today, workers without any schooling are a tiny minority in parts of the country,” he said.

Dr Kim mentioned the third reason as the country’s urban areas growing quickly, creating more and bigger paying jobs.
 


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