Mr Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone has challenged Ghana to institute actionable strategies to exploit the country’s abundant resources to get people in the savannah zone out of poverty.
“There is no reason why northern Ghana and for that matter, Ghana as a whole should be poor, many countries do not have a fraction of the resources that Ghana has,” he said at the launch and exhibition of smock on Friday.
The month- long exhibition which is on theme: “The grass is greener,” is aimed at creating jobs in the savannah regions and to reduce poverty.
He said: “I would like to challenge the government and SADA [Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA)] to step in with more vigour and tease out concrete and implementable action plans from the numerous plans already in existence.
“Review those that need to be reviewed, add new ones if necessary, so we can start getting some concrete and impactful results for the people.”
“The good people of the SADA zone cannot wait forever,” Kerali added.
He said the savannah ecological belt is huge and stretches across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
But, Asia and Latin America have been able to turn them into major food baskets and growth poles.
The SADA zone covers about 60 per cent of the land mass of country, and span five regions.
He said the SADA region with its arable lands and other resources including its rivers, as well as its hard working and creative people have a lot to offer Ghana and the sub region.
“I believe we can and should do a lot more to harness all these untapped resources and use them to improve the lot of the people in this zone.”
Kerali described the introduction of wearing Batakari in every Friday of every month as innovative and interesting programme, saying, “the potentials to be unlocked by promoting Batakari are clearly vast.”
He said the local garment apparel also called Fugu or Dansiki, depending on one’s ethnic origin, already has an international appeal and is also growing fast into a dress code for pan Africanism.
He cited the day of March 6, 1957, when Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and other pioneers donned it to declare independence.
Chief Executive Officer of SADA, Dr Charles Abugre said: “Batakari is deeply rooted in our culture and increasingly identifies us around the world.
“It provides incomes and employment for thousands of people-men and women alike-as cotton farmers, spinners, yarn weavers; those who dye the fabric, those who stitch it, those who decorate, those who retail and even those who clean it.
“It holds huge potential in the fashion industry and can be used for a variety of household decoration and other utility purpose.
“Growth in this industry can stimulate the cotton industry and save us millions in imports, while bringing in even more millions of exports.”