South African High Commissioner to Ghana Tours Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ) to Explore Investment Opportunities

The South African High commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Ms. Lulama Xingwana, visited the zone from Thursday 9th March 2017 to Friday 10th March 2017 at the invitation of SADA and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC). The purpose of the tour was the exploration of investment opportunities in the zone that might be of interest to South African Investors. H.E Xingwana focused on opportunities in the following sectors; Agriculture and Agribusiness, Energy, Transportation, and Tourism and Culture.

She is excited about the opportunity to visit the zone and to be educated on the programs and activities of SADA by its Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Charles Abugre, and the NRCC by the Regional Coordinating Director; Mr. Alhassan Issahaku. She was particularly thrilled by the pronounced traditional architecture of round huts roofed with thatch in the zone compared to the predominantly western styled architecture in most of Southern Ghana. H.E Xingwana noted a historic visit by some Chiefs from the zone to South Africa and a courtesy call by them on the Zulu King of south Africa where the roles of Chiefs in the two states where shared. She indicated her desire for a similar visit by the Zulu King to the Chiefs of the zone to follow-up on the first visit.

As her first visit to the zone, the scope of the visit was restricted to learning about the zone and its investment opportunities. She however outlined several South African investments in Southern Ghana in the areas of energy, water purification and shopping mall development which she will encourage to invest in the zone.

The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Salifu Saed, had the opportunity to welcome the High Commissioner and highlighted the enormous investment opportunities of the zone and how these opportunities could be harness to create jobs and stem the tide on recurrent challenges such as poverty, rural-urban and North-South migration. The Minister assured the High Commissioner of stability of SADA as an institution despite political change though the name and strategic focus of the institution may be changed and expanded respectively. He solicited the support of H.E Xingwana in a proposed SADA/South African Investor (Group 5) partnership to construct a shopping mall in Tamale. She promised to discuss with Group 5 on how she might help facilitate the project.

Field visits

H.E Xingwana had field visits to the proposed site for the Mall and potential investments sites namely, the Yaipe Irrigation site for irrigated agriculture and aquaculture, the Nasia-Nabogu Valley where successful year-round agriculture production by private companies is ongoing. Here she interacted with staff of Kukobilla farms, a private farmer who produces vegetables under irrigation and supplies to Shoprite and other retailers in Accra. She also saw sample of butternut squash and potatoes harvested for the market. Other interesting components of the farm were the livestock production, and at Libga in the Savulugu Nantong District, she interacted with some producers of okro, pepper, tomato and other leafy vegetables for the local markets. She was particularly impressed by the active participation of women in such economic. She promised to visit the farmers again and suggested Framer Exchange Programmes with their counterparts in South Africa for mutual learning and improvement. The famers were equally happy to receive her and indicated that with an enlarged dam, many more farmers will and reduced cost of inputs, more farmers will be engaged in the area.

Debriefing and feedback from field visit

A debriefing meeting was held by the High Commissioner with the Minister and Management of SADA. She impressed with work in the field and encouraged to promote investments in the zone. The Minister promised to discuss the interest in having the Shopping Mall with the Vice President of Ghana and follow up with the High Commissioner soon.

The Minister and SADA presented traditional northern Cloth and smocks to H.E Xingwana and members of her team.