The three northern regions of Ghana are persistently the poorest regions, and the stable economic growth which Ghana has experienced since the early 1990s has not extended to the north. While parts of other regions are also poor, the north comprises the poorest large geographical area, one where economic growth has been difficult to stimulate.
There are several arguments for bridging the north south divide through economic growth. Ghana's overall economic growth and ability to reduce poverty will be substantially enhanced if northern Ghana shares in that growth. As a trading economy, Ghana's global position will progress further if northern Ghana also grows economically, producing exports as well as consuming imported goods and services. Arguably everyone has a right to share in prosperity, but countries' political stability can also be threatened by regional under-development, as observed not least in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire. This is thus a truly national project.
The study investigated the opportunities for and constraints on growth, and outlines the way forward. To date it has carried out fieldwork in the three northern regions, held workshops in Tamale and Accra, which were reported on national and local news, and opened respectively by the Regional Minister for the Northern Region, and the Minister for Trade and Industry, and produced presentations for these workshops.
The study is being carried out by the Overseas Development Institute, London and the Centre for Policy Analysis, Accra, with team members from the University of Ghana at Legon, the University of Development Studies at Navrongo, Imperial College, London, and the University of Sussex.
Principal Research Fellow, Director CPAN project