The Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has developed a master plan to serve as a blueprint and guideline for the transformation of the savanna zone.
It takes into consideration the national investment policies being championed by institutions such as the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SADA, Dr Charles Abugre, who disclosed this in an interview, said the plan would be marketed by the GIPC and also placed in all Ghanaian embassies to help sell the potential of the zone to the world.
The SADA zone, which comprises 63 districts in five regions, is lagging behind in development, mostly as a result of economic and social factors.
According to Dr Abugre, the zone contains some eight million hectares of barren land, of which 3.5 million hectares are suitable for rice cultivation.
“What we want to do is to invest more in irrigation, construct more dams and equip the people so that we can grow rice to feed ourselves,” he stated.
A boost in rice production within the zone could help offset the current supply deficit, which results in the outflow of some US$1 billion in import costs for rice annually.
Dr Abugre also mentioned harnessing the tourism potential in the area to help create jobs and improve the livelihoods of the people.
He disclosed that the authority had also changed its mode of operation and strengthened internal controls to prevent the recurrence of financial malfeasance.
The new operational strategy, which hinges on transparency and professionalism, is to help chart a new path for the authority – an autonomous body responsible for harnessing the investment prospects of the area into tangible projects.