|Mr. Osman Sahanoon Kulandi|
The AGI/SADA Strategic Partnership, he explained would seek to introduce and focus projects and programmes relevant to the private sector of the Savannah Ecological Zone and gather new and relevant information for future partnership arrangements and collaboration.
Speaking at the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association in Tamale, Mr. Kulandi said the partnership would also seek to strengthen the Savannah Ecological Zone’s private sector and address development goals for communities, semi-skilled and industrial employment needs, policy and interest representation.
He also indicated that, under the partnership, a developmental oriented platform would be created to inform and educate various key stakeholders about the benefits and challenges of collaborations on projects and programmes within the Savannah Ecological Zone.
A representative of the SADA CEO, Francis Ashong-Katai, said SADA was currently conducting a survey of businesses operating in the SADA zone in order to identify bottlenecks and barriers stifling their operations.
This, he said, would enable SADA to engage with key policy makers to find solutions to the bottlenecks and barriers that would be identified through the survey.
Mr. Ashong-Katai who is also the Coordinator of Private Sector and Investment at SADA, explained that the Authority is envisaging holding meetings with businesses in the zone to brainstorm on key issues of mutual concern.
According to him, SADA was also developing a master plan that “aims to set up a frame work for the development of the SADA zone in key areas such as tourism, agric, infrastructure, energy and integrated agri-business clusters or value chain.
“The master plan also aims to develop the two cities of Buipe and Tamale as model cities for the zone. Buipe being envisaged as the logistics hub of the SADA zone and Tamale as the regional hub, and Tamale being one of the fastest growing cities in West Africa is very well positioned to assume this role. We hope that in the end these two cities will become model cities to attract people from the sub-region into Ghana”, he noted.
Mr. Asongo-Katai further explained that, in terms of infrastructure, SADA was looking at developing the Volta Lake Transportation System right from Akosombo to Buipe and that was why Buipe was envisaged to be the logistic hub for the SADA zone.
In a speech read on his behalf, the President of the Association of Ghana Industries, James Asare-Adjei, outlined challenges that were currently confronting businesses of members citing difficulty in accessing credit facilities, high cost of credit, bad roads network, difficulty in securing business operating permits and among others.
He appealed to the various financial institutions to be flexible in their requirements to enable small and medium enterprises access credit without any impediments in their way.
“This is a sure way of helping our local industries to be more competitive. I also wish to appeal to our development partners and the numerous NGOs in this region to partner and collaborate with AGI in moving forward its industrial and development agenda”, Mr. Asare-Adjei opined.
The AGM of the Association of Ghana Industries seeks to evaluate the achievements and challenges of the Association in the past year, and re-strategise for the coming year. AGI is a voluntary business association with over 1,200 members, made up of small, medium and large scale manufacturing and services industries in agro-processing, agri-business, pharmaceuticals, electronics and electrical, telecommunications, information technology, transport, construction, textiles, garments and leather, banking and advertising.