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Tamale needs investors to further expand her growth


Tamale was once described by a prominent international news magazine as the fastest growing metropolis in the West African region. I could not agree more with the assessment. It was apt and accurate.

The Tamale I knew in my youth is not the city I know today; over the last three decades, Tamale has undergone a tremendous transformation. The once sleepy, small town with one main street is now a thriving urban center. Tamale, indeed, has grown in leaps and bounds, and continues to expand rapidly day in and day out.

The city has one main attraction and that is its high levels of tolerance; despite past outbursts of tribal violence, the city still retains its allure and continues to roll out the welcome mat to thousands of Ghanaians and citizens of other West African nations irrespective of their financial and social status.

Like all fast growing cities, Tamale has its problems, but these pale in comparison with those of other big urban centers in the nation who have to grapple with crime, traffic congestion, overflowing and stinky sewers, mounds of foul-smelling garbage and high rents.

Tamale’s contribution to the national economy cannot be overemphasized; it is the main hub for the export of food stuff to the southern part of the country, it is the gateway to the Sahel region and the anchor of the thriving commerce that binds us to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

But despite its recently acquired reputation as a big city, Tamale still has a long way to go in terms of development and attracting investors, both local and foreign. The reason for this has a lot to do with the central government’s indifference, couple with the inertia of northern politicians.

Consider how long it took the central government to finally approve the expansion of the Tamale Airport, a necessary and much needed facility in these days of regional commerce and jet travel. Talk about the marginalization of the north and this is a perfect example.

It is an open secret that most foreign investors are deliberately kept in the south and no effort is made by officials to alert them to the fact that there are huge regions in the north that could use some of its investment capital. Making things worse for Tamale is the utter lack of effort on the part of northern political and economic leaders to sell the city to investors from within and without.

Of course, I am not denying the fact financial institutions have flooded the city and created jobs and employment opportunities for many, but Tamale is still in desperate need of investors in other sectors of the economy.

Investors have a lot to count on if and when they decide to plough their money into the city; Tamale has some distinct advantages and these should be emphasized by our political leaders. The city has a young, educated population, a research university, a polytechnic with a host of professional programs, a huge labor pool that investors can draw from and large tracts of land on its outskirts that can be used extensively for industrial and agriculture purposes.

Tamale’s amazing growth and expansion are testament to the hard-work and commitment of its residents. The future indeed looks bright for the city, but it will only get better if investors come calling.

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