Business News of Saturday, 25 February 2017
The Rasmal Invest Group of Morocco has signed an agreement with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to invest a minimum of $800 million into three projects in the savannah zone of the country.
The three projects – the Tamale Teaching Hospital, the Buipe Inland Port and the Kintampo Tourism Cluster – form part of SADA’s master plan which will serve as a blueprint to the transformation of the zone.
The money will also finance the development of the Volta Lake Transportation System, one of the sub-projects under the Buipe Inland Port project that is envisaged to help unlock the tourism potentials of the Kintampo Municipality and the Brong Ahafo Region in general.
As part of the agreement, Rasmal has also proposed to arrange for the financing of both pre-feasibility and feasibility studies into the identified projects prior to their commencement.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SADA, Mr Charles A. Abugre, signed on behalf of SADA while the CEO of Rasmal Invest, Mr El Ouardi Sidi Mohamed signed on behalf of the company.
The agreement was witnessed by the Minister in-charge of Development and Special Initiatives at the Presidency, Mrs Hawa Koomson.
Gamble paying off
Mr Abugre told the Graphic Business in an interview after the signing that he was excited about the agreement because it showed that SADA’s gamble was paying off.
He said SADA changed its approach from direct project delivery to preparing in order to market the area to attract investments.
“The decision of Rasmal to invest in three projects means that our assumptions were right.
“If we position ourselves properly and prepare ourselves, we will attract significant investments in the area,” he stated.
He noted that the area was often presented in very harsh terms as hot, dry, poor and inhospitable, which SADA and its management now aim to “turn around to reflect an area that has huge potential for investments”.
“If we prepare the appropriate information and market the area adequately, we will attract interest in the northern half of the country,” he said.
Mr Abugre observed that all the three projects that had attracted the interest of Rasmal were very significant projects that would bring development to the northern part of the country.
He said the Kintampo Tourism Cluster project, for instance, was going to open up Kintampo to attract lots of tourists.
“Kintampo is a strategically located place in the country. They call it the centre of Ghana and it’s the centre of many places.”
“When you fly to Kumasi, you drive to Kintampo within two hours, if you fly to Sunyani, you drive to Kintampo within two hours, and if you fly to Tamale too, you drive to Kintampo within two hours,” he stated.
He said this meant that if there was an attractive concept in Kintampo, chances were that it would be very accessible from multiple locations.
“So the concept we are marketing is to start with the attractions such as the Fula Falls and the Kintampo Falls and then model them to create multi-usable facilities like golf courses, restaurants and children’s play places.
“When this works out well, then it means it is two hours to Mole Park, so you can develop another concept between Kintampo and Mole Park. This will be the first step in revitalising tourism in the northern part of the country,” he added.
He said the Buipe Inland Port and Volta Lake Transportation System were two of SADA’s most ambitious projects under its master plan that would enable Ghana to compete with Cote d’Ivoire and Togo in the transit cargo business.
Waiting for details
The CEO of the Rasmal Group, Mr Sidi Mohamed, reaffirmed his company’s commitment to the three projects, explaining that it was only waiting for the details of what SADA needed for each project.
“Once we get that, we will commence with the projects,” he said.
He mentioned that his company had even suggested helping SADA with the feasibility studies to ascertain the needs of SADA as far as those projects were concerned and also to find out the cost of the projects.
Bringing development to Ghana
Mrs Koomson said the three projects were not going to bring development to the northern sector of the country alone but the whole country.
She said it had become necessary for SADA to engage private investors in its projects since the government alone could not support the activities of the authority.
She added that the government would continue to provide the necessary support and incentives to help attract more investments into the SADA zone.
“The projects will take off immediately after the feasibility studies. By the end of this month, we are bringing in some specialists to start the feasibility studies and it won’t take much time,” she stated.