Conflicts are a cause of high poverty levels among the people of Northern Ghana, a survey has shown.
These conflicts are due to disputes over land, political and traditional leadership and competition for natural resources.
Madam Janet Adama Mohammed, Programme Director for Conciliation Resources, an advocacy organisation for peace in West Africa, said a General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by her outfit two years ago indicated that Northern Ghana, comprising the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West Regions, had the highest poverty levels due to conflicts.
Madam Mohammed was addressing stakeholders in Tamale at a Regional dialogue under the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) project on the drivers of conflict and security in Northern Ghana.
The two-month pilot project being implemented in the five regions is to address the underlying causes of conflict, insecurity and underdevelopment in Northern Ghana.
The meeting was to develop a Roadmap for coordinated advocacy on peace, security and stability by state and non-state actors.
Madam Mohammed said most of the conflicts were caused by vigilante groups from political parties and traditional leaders to serve their interest.
Madam Mohammed urged the stakeholders to adopt measures to protect the rights and interests of communities to ensure they benefitted from the extraction of natural resources for their development.
Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, Director of Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC), advised stakeholders to develop more technical skills for the youth to address the unemployment situation in the Northern sector.
He said unemployment was forcing the youth to join political vigilante groups with the false hope of moving up the social ladder.
He said unemployment was on the rise, and if not checked properly could result in the youth being radicalized and recruited into terrorists’ groups, which can affect the security of the Northern sector.
Mr Amidu Ibrahim-Tanko, Chief Executive Officer of Star-Ghana Foundation, said the CSSF project was a partnership between STAR Ghana Foundation, Northern Development Authority, the Northern Development Forum, National Peace Council and funded by UK aid.
He said the partners were to hold processes for the development of a Roadmap and subsequent engagement with the government, traditional authorities and stakeholders for implementation.
He said the project had so far strengthened mechanisms of coordinated stakeholder actions around peace, security and stability in Northern Ghana.