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How Can We Promote Local Economic Development (LED) in Northern Ghana.

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The National Decentralisation Policy and Strategy (2020-2024) defines Local Economic Development (LED) as “a process to galvanize and stimulate citizens to participate in entrepreneurial ventures to promote micro, small and medium enterprises to create sustainable employment where district assemblies provide the favourable and enabling business environment for growth.” LED is pivotal to development and to a considerable extent, national development. The Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development formulated the Local Economic Development Policy in 2020 as a framework for economic development at the local level.

The Ministry under the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion Project will focus on LED; thus, it seeks to operationalise the Policy to promote a more coordinated and integrated approach to LED.

Operationalising the LED Policy

In spite of the importance of LED in promoting economic growth and development, there seems to be limited understanding of the concept of LED. There is a lack of appreciation of the immense potential it has for contributing to local development.

The Ministry has identified a coordinated approach towards implementing the LED Policy. Critical measures to roll out this coordinated approach is the uniformity of the understanding of what LED means and clarity of roles of all stakeholders for an inclusive and coordinated local economic development. Additionally, to promote sustainable LED, there is the need to:

The Ghana SOCO project - a catalyst for the operationalization of the LED policy

The Country Director of the World Bank, Pierre Laporte Ghana CMU, has said that “The Ghana SOCO project aims to operationalise the government’s LED policy in northern Ghana with the objective to fully harness the economic potentials of the project districts for inclusive job creation thereby contributing to the Ghana beyond aid agenda.”

It is imperative that all stakeholders work jointly towards a common vision to achieve this aim. He affirms that the SOCO project “recognizes the need for a multifaceted approach of investing in local institutional community level infrastructure that effectively responds to local needs and improves local economic opportunities using inclusion, strengthening of local institutional capacities, digital innovations and originally coordinated solutions as a vehicle for social cohesion and conflict prevention.”

The project will therefore foster a multi-sectoral and multi-partner response and enhance coordination and collaboration. It will also work with Development partners to support a coordinated approach that will maximize finance for development and create large scale transformative impacts in target districts.

Beyond collaboration and coordination, stakeholders must work towards a common vison. There should therefore be an alignment of the objectives of the project to the policy objectives. The following SOCO objectives are directly linked to a number of LED policy objectives:

  1. Ensure effective LED coordination at all levels = LED Policy Objective 1
  2. Strengthen capacities at MMDA level for effective led governance = LED Policy Objective 2
  3. Improve access to economic infrastructure and support industrialisation = LED Policy Objective 5
  4. Facilitate access to productive assets such as land, water, and other natural resources = LED Policy Objective 6
  5. Support access to finance for businesses, cooperatives, and vulnerable groups = LED Policy Objective 7
  6. Support access to training and entrepreneurial skills development = LED Policy Objective 8

As part of the SOCO Project, an intensive approach will be piloted with selected SOCO districts that have strong implementation readiness, prior LED experience, and/or sited close the Zonal Coordinating Offices [ZCOs]. Through the intensive LED approach, these MMDAs will serve as a good model/ proof of concept in operationalizing the national LED policy and Practitioners’ Manual.

How Can We Promote Inclusive Local Economic Development (LED) in Northern Ghana?- SOCO Project Ghana


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