Zongo communities are to witness substantial infrastructure development following the allocation of a $50-million seed capital to the Zongo Development Fund (ZDF) by the government.
The recent inauguration of the ZDF Board, coupled with the appointment of a chief executive for the fund, has set in motion processes to establish a secretariat to be responsible for the disbursement of the fund to develop and transform the social and economic conditions of Zongo communities in Ghana.
Zongo Development Fund
Parliament passed the Zongo Development Fund Act 964 in 2017 to, among other functions, invest in basic services and strategic infrastructure in Zongo communities, support local businesses in such communities and provide social protection for the poor and vulnerable in those communities.
“Now that we have a board in place, with the complement of a secretariat, all is set for us to hit the ground running to achieve the objectives for which the ministry and the fund were established,” the Minister for Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Alhaji Abubakar Siddique Boniface, told the Daily Graphic in Accra last Monday.
He said the seed capital could not be utilised because the board had not been inaugurated but expressed optimism that Zongo communities would, in the coming months, begin to witness a new lease of life in terms of socio-economic and infrastructural development.
Recently, Alhaji Boniface embarked on a baseline assessment of Zongo communities in some of the regions.
He said the ministry was currently going through procurement processes to roll out 51 projects in 41 Zongo communities across the country at a cost of GH¢15 million.
Among the infrastructure projects he alluded to were the provision of water and the construction of roads, drains, places of convenience, schools and football parks.
He said although the ZDF had a seed capital, the country’s development partners, such as the World Bank and the European Union (EU), as well as the private sector, were expected to contribute towards the development of the Zongos.
He submitted that the ministry had constructed Astro turfs for sporting and other social activities in Kyebi in the Eastern Region, Walewale in the Northern Region and Madina in the Greater Accra Region.
In addition to those projects, he said, there was the construction of green parks at Salaga in the Northern Region, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, Tafo in the Ashanti Region, Oda in the Eastern Region and Yeji in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The minister said the government was committed to creating equal opportunities for all in the Zongos by ensuring improvement in their socio-economic circumstances and bringing sportsmen and women together to engage in various sporting disciplines as part of a regenerative health plan.
On the key areas of infrastructural enhancement and economic empowerment, Alhaji Boniface underscored the fact that the preoccupation of the ZDF?Board would be to ensure that schools, good drains, health centres and scholarship packages were provided for deprived areas, especially the Zongo communities.
On education, he spoke about the rehabilitation of schools at Salaga, Yeji and Madina, while about 3,000 Arabic instructors would be recruited under the Youth Employment Agency to be deployed to teach in schools in the Zongo communities.
Alhaji Boniface stated that 500 women in the Greater Accra Region were being engaged on skills development and trade to be linked to some financial institutions, with the objective of helping them to secure loans to run and expand their businesses.
Among the challenges confronting the ministry, he said, were logistical constraints, lack of office accommodation and enough support staff.