Having been curved out of the then Northern Region, the Savannah Region was established as a Region by Constitutional Instrument number one hundred and fifteen (C.I. 115) of 2019 with Damongo as the regional capital.
The decision to create this new region stems from the demands from a substantial majority of the people of Gonja land and the desire by the government to bring governance closer to the people to ensure more grassroots participation in decision making. The Northern Region as it was then, was too large geographically to be managed effectively as a single entity.
The creation of the region makes it easier to focus on the efficient exploration and tapping of the abundant natural resources of the region for the accelerated socio economic development of the region.
The population of the region is currently estimated at 581,368 with an annual growth rate of 2.8%.
Savannah Region, like most regions of Ghana is not mono-ethnic yet the different ethnic groups have lived together for several years peacefully. There are over nineteen (19) ethnic groups in the new region.
LOCATION AND SIZE
Savannah region is the largest in Ghana with a landmass of 46,922 sq. Km, constituting about one-fifth (1/5) of the total land area of Ghana. The region is bordered on the north by the Upper West Region, on the west by the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso international borders, on the south by Bono and Bono East regions and on the west by North- East and Northern regions. Savannah region has two (2) municipalities and five (5) districts. They are
- East Gonja Municipality- Salaga as the Capital
- West Gonja Municipality- Damongo as the capital
- Bole District- Bole as the capital
- Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District- Sawla as the capital
- North Gonja District- Daboya as the capital
- Central Gonja District- Buipe as the capital
- North East Gonja District- Kpalbe as the capital
Besides the seven MDAs the Region has seven Constituencies, namely; Bole/Bamboi, Daboya/Mankarigu, Damongo, Salaga North, Salaga South, Yapei/Kusawgu and Sawla/Tuna/Kalba Constituencies.
STRATEGIC DIRECTION OF THE SAVANNAH REGIONAL CO-ORDINATING COUNCIL
VISION: “To create an enabling environment that seeks to attain a peaceful, stable and accelerated development of the Region; ensuring reduction in poverty levels of all manner of people and leading to high standard of living”.
Mission: “The Savannah Regional Co-ordinating Council exists to ensure total development of the Savannah Region through harnessing investment potentials, human and natural resources of the region; and efficiently monitoring, co-ordinating and evaluating activities, programmes and plans of the District Assemblies, Government Departments and Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations in the region in the context of decentralized environment”.
Strategic Objectives: Accordingly, Savannah Regional Co-ordinating Council seeks to pursue the following strategic objectives which are in line with the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II);
To facilitate the provision of basic socio-economic infrastructure and services in the region
To facilitate improvement of quality of life through provision of quality health services, education, water, housing and sound environmental management
To provide support to agricultural modernization and natural resource management
To provide support to accelerate energy supply to promote small and medium enterprises in the Region
To promote good governance by strengthening the management and service delivery capacity of the SRCC and its departments
To promote private sector participation in the development of the region.
ECONOMY OF THE REGION AND AREAS FOR STRATEGIC INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
The geographical condition of the region has brought with it some challenges but significantly it has also presented the region with very important comparative as well as competitive advantages some of which include:
Below we present some details on the above opportunities
Savannah region has enormous agricultural potentials. It is one of the main grain and tuber producing areas in Ghana. Harnessing these particularly will help to create employment and reduce poverty.
The Region has about 2.69 million hectares of land under cropping and livestock rearing. It also has approximately 1.67 million hectares of land potentially suitable for cultivation of a wide range of crops including maize, rice, millet, sorghum, yam, cassava, soya beans, groundnuts and other legumes.
Cassava a tuber that can be processed into a high market value starch for industrial purposes. Soybeans and Groundnut on the other hand can be processed into vegetable oil and paste for domestic consumption and cake for animal and poultry feed.
The land is flat and gentle undulating tracts of lowland and fertile valleys, traversed by large water bodies (white and black Volta and river Daka) and their tributaries, making the region suitable for large scale commercial and mechanized agriculture and conducive for irrigation and aquaculture.
TREE /CASH CROPS
The region has the highest concentration of Shea/butter nut trees in Ghana. Other cash crops such as cotton, Sugar cane cashew and mango among others are grown throughout the region.
FISHERIES AND AQUA CULTURE
Savannah Region has great potential for fisheries development. Some basic infrastructure for fisheries and aqua culture development include white and Black Volta Rivers and their tributaries across the region. Others include dams which can be found in several parts of the region. Some parts of the water basin is characterized by spotted ponds which preserve water throughout the year and this makes them conducive for cage fish farming.
The vast grassland in the region provides potential for commercial livestock production. Common livestock produced in the region include cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
Poultry is kept by farmers as household income security however, poultry has been identified as a viable venture considering steady increase in demand as a result of springing up of several hotels and restaurants across the region.
Several mineral deposits have been found in commercial quantities in Savannah Region. The Region indeed has the greatest potential for mineral exploitation and development in the Northern Sector of Ghana. Some of the mineral deposits found in the area include Gold deposits in the Bole and Bui Sections of the Birimian Geological Belt.
Mining in Savannah region is mainly small scale gold mining currently concentrated in district but there is the potential for large scale mining. Also there is an untapped potential for other minerals such as Bauxite, Diamond, and Manganese in the region.
MINERAL BELT IN GHANA
Bole /Nangodi belt falls within Savannah Region
There is also a high probability of the discovery of hydrocarbons in the regioin. Of the 692 Seismic lines acquired by GNPC for exploration for hydrocarbons, 54.4% are in the Northern sector and over 75% of those are in Savannah region.
East-Gonja Municipality and Central Gonja District of the region have been identified to have deposits of hydrocarbon. The prospects of investing in the oil extraction industry is enormous to the inhabitants, the investors, the Municipality, the region and the Nation as a whole
TOURISM AND CULTURE
Savannah Region abounds in rich eco-tourism potentials. Some major tourist attraction sites are:
- The Mole National Park near Damongo in the West Gonja Municipality. This National Park has 4,840 sq. Km of reserved land for Wildlife such as Elephants, Antelopes, Buffaloes, Warthogs, Apes, Birds and some 400 other Animal Species.
- The Larabanga Mosque at Larabanga. It is believed to have been built in the 13th Century.
- The Larabanga Mystery Stone – A mysterious boulder of rock that has the Subject of Splendid Local Legend.
- Jakpa Palace in Damongo. The palace represents the symbol of Gonja kingdom.
- Annual Damba Festival and the Rich Gonja culture and tradition.
- The Salaga Slave Route and the Salaga Slave Camp/Market where the Trans-Saharan Slave Caravans made stop-overs and engaged in Slavery Transactions. There are also the Famous Slave Wells where the Slaves took their bath and drank clean water to quench their thirst.
- The Daboya Smock-Weaving Centre. The Centre has a large number of highly skilled Weavers who produce quality smocks for both the Local and Export Markets.
- Ndewura Jakpa foot-prints site at Akamade at Kulaw- Abrumasi area.
- The confluence of the White and the Black Volta Lake in Lourchira at the Kulaw Area.
- Ndewura Jakpa Temporal Settlement Sites at Chamawuripe at Kidengi in the Bunjai Area.
Many of the attractions mentioned above are well known but less developed. Though Mole Game Reserve stands out, it is not integrated with other attractions to maximize the gains. The region therefore envisages how the various components can be developed to provide a holistic package for tourists. This package will be beneficial to the communities and the investors.
Expected areas of investments include rehabilitation of tourist areas, construction of hotels, promotion and integration of culture and tradition in tourism menus etc.
The region has the potential for cement production as some of the raw materials that go into the production of cement can be found in the region around Buipe in the Central Gonja District. Already one factory is producing cement at commercial quantities for the entire country and the West Africa sub region. The factory, Savannah Cement which produces Diamond Cement brand, is located at Buipe the District Capital of Central Gonja District.
This potential also exists in the eastern part of the region. The availability of limestone along the Volta Lake in the East Gonja Municipality makes the area another potential for cement production.
SHEA BUTTER PROCESSING
The region has the highest concentration of Shea/butter nut trees therefore Shea butter products are available in large quantities which can provide raw materials for related industries such as cosmetic industries. The establishment of Shea butter processing facility anywhere in the region would be a wise investment decision.
Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG)
Connected to the above is the existence of a branch of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) at Bole in the region which can support shea butter processing. The Institute is also engaged in research activities to reduce gestation period of shea trees and thereby improve yield and production.
CASSAVA PROCESSING FOR INDUSTRIES
The region has a huge potential for cassava production for the brewery industry similarly the potential for industrial starch production is huge.
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
The region generally has low housing development therefore the potential for Real Estate development is huge, especially in the new regional capital. The high population growth rate of 2.7% annually and the high level of urbanization, the influx of civil and public servants into the regional capital and other major district capitals, show high prospects of Real Estate development. Other advantage is the availability of Savannah Cement factory in the region, the existence of natural resources along the Volta Lake such as aggregate, river sand and gravel. These resources are assets to Real Estate development make entry into the housing industry more affordable, effective, efficient and profitable.
LAKE TRANSPORT AND INLAND PORT
Lake transport has a huge investment potential in the region. This is because white and Black Volta Rivers pass through the region at various locations. Already Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC) operates river transportation for bulk haulage of Petroleum products, cement and other goods from Akosombo in the Eastern Region to Buipe in the Savannah Region. VLTC also operates cross lake ferry services that connect Makangu in the region with Yeji in the Bono East region.
However the company’s fleet of vessels are very old a situation that makes the lake transport business unattractive. VLTC has acknowledged this fact and has put in place plans to re-evaluate its strategies to attract investors to improve its operations.
Another area of investment in the lake transport system is the construction of inland ports at vital sections of the navigation rout to ensure that the bulk loads are disembarked at the inland ports to be transported to the final destinations.