Background Introduction

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Ghana has launched a progressive initiative to prepare the Regional Concept Plan for the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ) comprising of 5 Regions; Detailed Master Plans for the Cities of Tamale and Buipe; and a Land Management System for Tamale City. For this purpose, Surbana Jurong has been working closely with the Ghanaian professionals and stakeholders comprising of the Town and Country Planning Development, National Development Planning Commission, professional commissions and local authorities to deliver the respective tasks of the project. The project has progressively reached Task 3 of preparing the Regional Concept Plan, after the completion of the initial activities including data inventory, GIS database creation, context analysis, as well as socio-economic study to assess the dimensions of growth and identify potentials in NSEZ.

Process & Methodology

Having completed the inception process of data collection and base mapping, the Regional Concept Plan is developed at this stage. The process adopted in the preparation of the plan is elaborated as below:

Socio-Economic Modelling

A regional, national and city level socio-economic modelling is conducted to ensure an in-depth knowledge of inherent potentials of the NSEZ, as well as the cities of Tamale and Buipe in the context of the country and the region. This regional context and economic competitiveness analysis serves as a guide for realistic projections that are vital to achieve adequate and optimum urban planning. The modelling is conducted by reviewing the current positioning, setting baseline for projections and defining possible scenarios for the future to project the future economic position of NSEZ in 2040. Based on the economic projections, the future demographic scenario is also projected.

Existing Context Analysis

In parallel, an in-depth analysis is conducted to understand the existing physical conditions in the region as well as within NSEZ. The regional transportation and infrastructure connectivity is studied and sectors including geography, environment, population, urban development pattern, social facilities, tourism, as well as connectivity and infrastructure within NSEZ are analysed. The analysis helps to identify the constraints and opportunities of each sector, which will facilitate the development of planning strategies for the overall NSEZ, as well as Tamale and Buipe City.

Review of Existing Planning Framework and Proposals

A review of the regional level planning framework in Ghana and NSEZ is conducted to understand the existing institutional set-up, planning process, policies, planning proposals and Master Plans, and identify any gaps or critical issues and possible improvements. Similarly, all approved and on-going projects were captured and incorporated in the making of the Regional Concept Plan.

Holding Stakeholders Consultations

Constructive and interactive stakeholders and focus group meetings were held monthly over the past 5 months so as to gather valuable inputs to guide the development of the Regional Concept Plan. This include meetings and discussions with the Steering Committee, Technical Committee as well as the Regional Oversight Team, which comprises of stakeholders from multiple disciplines and institutions, along with representatives from the 5 respective regions of NSEZ.

Positioning, Visioning & Growth Strategy

The findings of the NSEZ analysis with respect to the surrounding regions, its socio-economic context and the geographical context, as well as the inputs gathered from the stakeholders are incorporated in the development of NSEZ’s regional positioning strategies and the unique vision that outlines a progressive growth map for its future. Depending on the characteristic of each region, regional level visions are also proposed for 5 regions. The NSEZ vision guides the regional level visions for other districts where by proposed goals, objectives and strategies would work in unison to help achieve the unified regional vision