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2022 | Buch

Democratic Decentralization, Local Governance and Sustainable Development

Ghana's Experiences for Policy and Practice in Developing Countries


Über dieses Buch

Drawing on field-based data and experiences from the practice of democratic decentralization and local governance over the last three decades in Ghana, this book examines whether and how democratic decentralization and local governance reforms in developing countries have produced the anticipated development outcomes.
In seventeen related contributions, the authors present four relevant focal themes, including conceptual and historical trajectories of decentralization and local governance; institutional choice, democratic representation, and poverty reduction; local governance, resource capacity, and service delivery; and non-state actors, local governance and sustainable development.
The book blends perspectives of scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers to provide a holistic analysis of linkages between decentralization, local governance, and sustainable development efforts, presenting a novel and useful guide for science, policy, and practice of bottom-up governance and development. It provides relevant lessons and experiences for scholars, policy-makers, and development practitioners in Africa in particular and developing countries in general.



Conceptual and Historical Perspectives of Decentralization and Local Governance

From Deconcentration to Devolution: Tracking the Historical Trajectory of Democratic Decentralization in Ghana
This book addresses most of the questions on the nexus of democratic decentralization, local governance, and sustainable development with emphasis on Ghana’s past, present experiences and future expectations. The objective is to provide useful reference material for academic discussions, policy-making, and practices particularly in Africa and other developing countries. More specifically in this chapter, attempt is made by the author to answer two relevant questions. First, how is democratic decentralization conceptualized and operationalized? Second, how have Ghana’s decentralization and local governance reforms gravitated from deconcentration towards devolution (i.e. democratic decentralization) over time and across different political regimes? The chapter further examines some conceptual issues about decentralization and its links with sustainable local governance and development.
Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei
Historical Perspectives of Local Governance and Community Development in Ghana
This chapter draws from archival sources, published compendium of secondary literature and on historiographical technique, based on the central theme of continuity and change, to discuss how local governance has ensured community development. The lessons teased out from this discourse would have the propensity to shape the future. The narratives that follow have been categorized into themes including pre-colonial local government perspectives on Asante, Local Government in the colonial era, and then local government under Rawlings’ PNDC in the 1980s and the fourth republic, before finally examining the achievements and challenges of Ghana’s local government within the period with lessons for the future.
Samuel Adu-Gyamfi, Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei, Ali Yakubu Nyaaba, Eugenia Anderson
Decoding the Paradox of Decentralization with Centralized Characteristics in Democratic Ghana
The promise of decentralization is said to lie in the possibility of deepened democratic development. This has been the justification for local government policy designs in Ghana since the 1980s. Three decades on, even though observers detect a paradox of decentralization with characteristics of centralization, no scholarly attempt has been made to resolve the implied contradiction. This chapter seeks to address this lacuna with the contention that notwithstanding government policy designs and intent, decentralization initiatives are not meant to take power to the people per se. Rather, local government initiatives constitute one of several mechanisms through which state elites attempt to extend the reach and control of their power by seeking either to co-opt or corrode primordial systems of political rivalry.
Nene-Lomotey Kuditchar
Legitimizing Local Governance and Development Reforms in Ghana
Over the past decades, Ghana has witnessed some good economic growth (GDP). Resulting largely from the extractive industry, this growth has had little impact on the average Ghanaian. The largest contributor to Ghana’s GDP, the services sector (50.6%—2014 Budget), is heavily patronized by foreign investors and multinational organizations, hence, a chunk of the benefits of increasing growth in the sector eludes Ghanaians altogether. A good number of the service subsectors depend heavily on importation of several commodities which suggests that the growth in the sector also worsens the country’s trade deficit and balance of payments. Overall there has been reduction of poverty, the northern part of the country has become much poorer compared to the south and there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor. The agricultural sector which employs majority of Ghanaians (55.1%—Ghana Living Standards Survey 5), and can be strategically employed to promote general economic growth and tackle specific issues such as women economic empowerment and youth unemployment, is in a state of stagnation. In light of the above, this chapter critically examines the implications of local government reforms on sustainable development in Ghana to draw lessons for other African and developing countries.
O. Adeyemi Oluwatobi, Joseph A. Adekeye

Institutional Choice, Representation, Poverty Reduction and Local Development

Towards the Election of MMDCEs: A Case for Local Government Reforms in Ghana
Decentralization is a demonstration of balance of power. Therefore, when central governments do not make a conscious decision to decentralize, their decisions and actions increasingly make local governments powerless (Awortwi, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 77(2) 347–377, 2011). Over the period, there have been many reform processes which have targeted the administrative, political and fiscal components of local governance in Ghana. The most ambitious and politically daring reform proposal of the system by the central government has been the election of Chief Executives as political heads of local government units. This chapter asks; would the election of Chief Executives at the subnational scale improve local governance in Ghana?
Richard Abankwa Agyepong, Ebenezer Teye Amanor-Lartey
Women and Social Development: Opportunities for Gender Mainstreaming in Local Governance in Ghana
The 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana recognized the centrality of women’s roles in production and reproduction as agents and beneficiaries of social development and change. The constitution also recognized the disparities women suffer in accessing basic services and opportunities. To address these disparities, Ghana’s 1992 Constitution makes decentralization and local government a preferred method of democratic development. Successive governments continued to comply with the constitutional provision by embarking on decentralization and local governance reforms aimed at promoting equitable, efficient and sustainable local level development while allowing for effective participation of all in democracy. Decentralization and local governance reforms have been implemented well over 30 years which began in 1988. This paper explores the opportunities that social development aspect of decentralization and local governance reforms provide for gender mainstreaming.
Magdalene Awinyeliya Kannae
Sub-District Structures and Local Governance in Ghana: Role of Unit Committees in Promoting Popular Participation
Regardless of its significance in Ghana’s decentralised governance, the unit committee remains largely invisible in existing research, creating a gap in research on sub-district structures and participation in local governance. Owing to this, the role of unit committees in promoting participation at the grassroots remains least understood. Against this backdrop, this chapter examines the participation agenda by drawing on the experiences of unit committee members sampled from the Bekwai Municipality in the Ashanti region. Through a qualitative approach, the chapter highlights that community participation in local governance manifests in three main forms, namely participation in decisions, project implementation and local level elections. However, we argue that the role of unit committees in these forms of participation has a checkered outlook.
Richard Serbeh, Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei
Subnational Structures, Poverty Reduction and Rural Development Under Ghana’s Local Governance System
Over the years, a plethora of published and unpublished works on various components of decentralization have been undertaken by researchers and policy makers as a way of deepening the process in Ghana. This chapter examines the impact of subnational structures (SNS) on rural development in Ghana and exposes empirical challenges mitigating against the expected poverty reduction and rural development gains of decentralization. It argues that strengthening SNS is a prerequisite for effective rural development and poverty reduction. Fundamental questions addressed in this chapter include: How adequate are the authority, responsibility and resource capacity of SNSs to enable them to fulfil their poverty reduction and rural development mandate? How prominent is rural development in the plans of the SNS? How is participation embedded in the overall development agenda of SNSs?
David Forkuor

Local Governance, Resource Capacity and Service Delivery

Domestic Revenue Mobilization: Institutional Challenges in Ghana’s Decentralization System
To ensure effectiveness at the local level, financial responsibility was made a core component of decentralization in Ghana based on the recognition that fiscal autonomy of local government is associated with higher output per unit of labour and higher steady state growth (Brueckner, 2006). Fiscal decentralization was to equip local authorities to provide social amenities including education, markets, water, health services and roads. It was also to boost the local industries that will in effect generate employment for the people. The economic objectives for government are fundamentally three: assuring a stable economic environment in which the market is able to function; achieving a more equitable distribution of income and assuring a more efficient allocation of resources in case the market fails (Musgrave, The theory of public finance, 1959). This chapter examines resource mobilization challenge subverting responsive local governance and sustainable development in Ghana.
Akwasi Agyapong, Francis N. Sanyare, Emmanuel A. Wedam
Financial and Human Resource Capacities of Sub-national Governance Structures in Ghana
The current system of decentralization has come with additional responsibilities and so takes cognizance of various international and national commitments from donor agencies including the World Bank towards the management of development processes. In their attempt to envisage the future of Ghana’s decentralization policy there is agreement that the alteration in the country’s decentralization ought to be accompanied by the requisite human resource (HR) and financial capacities. To understand the HR and financial situation at the District Assemblies (DAs) requires an appreciation of the HR and financial capacity needs in both rural and urban areas of the country and the peculiar characteristics of the different DAs. This chapter examines Decentralized Reforms and Local Government in terms of Financial and Human Resource Capacities of Sub-National Structures in Ghana. Specifically, the study sought to ascertain the views of workers of the Assemblies on the institutional arrangements at the District Assemblies in respect of their human Resource and financial capacities; the existing and required number of personnel at the assembly and their associated development outcomes.
Yakubu Andani, Francis N. Sanyare
Decentralization and Resource Capacity for Sustainable Sanitation Services Delivery in Ghana
Lack of or inadequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities has been cited as a major cause of morbidity and mortality in most developing countries. Meanwhile, Ghana provides a good example of the potential for decentralization to facilitate the delivery of municipal services (including sanitation), given that the country has implemented decentralization for the past three decades, with relatively well-established principles of popular participation in constitutional and other legal provisions. The country today has policies, institutions, and agencies for sanitation and waste management at all levels; from the central government to the various district authorities. In spite of this, Ghana is still ranked among the poorest in terms of access to improved sanitation, which raises worrying questions regarding the well touted positive credentials of the decentralization system in improving municipal service delivery. This chapter, therefore, unpacks this seeming paradox by examining the country’s past experiences, present situation and the future expectations on how the process of decentralization can be improved to ensure sustainable sanitation services delivery in the country. Employing a rapid review approach, the chapter acknowledges the marginal improvement chalked by the decentralization process in the delivery of sanitation services, but advocates political, legislative, institutional and attitudinal re-engineering in order to reap the full benefits of decentralization in the country.
Simon Mariwah
Health Sector Decentralisation and Delivery of Responsive Healthcare in Ghana
In this chapter, we examine the implications of Ghana’s health sector decentralisation for the delivery of responsive healthcare in some selected districts in the country. This is especially important because decentralisation in the health sector is particularly complex and does not necessarily result in efficiency and improvements (Couttolenc, Decentralisation and governance in the Ghana health sector. World Bank, 2012). Besides, there is no clarity regarding the relationship between decentralisation and improvements in overall health system’s performance. This chapter examines the operations and activities of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) within the context of decentralised healthcare provision. Specifically, we assess the level of autonomy granted to subnational health institutions and how that influences healthcare delivery. We also examine capacity of subnational health units to deliver efficient and responsive services to those who access healthcare. Ultimately, we highlight some challenges associated with decentralised healthcare in Ghana and progress made in the last few decades.
Baba Salifu, Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei, Daniel Buor
Fiscal Decentralization with Autonomy for Service Delivery and Poverty Reduction in Ghana
The objectives of Ghana’s decentralization program include increasing local revenue mobilization, restructuring allocation of resources to meet local needs, and empowering MMDAs to make allocative decisions over both locally generated funds and those transferred from the central government (Kokor and Kroes, Central grants for local development in a decentralized planning system in Ghana; 2000). In achieving this, institutional and legal frameworks must be put in place to accommodate activities of the local people. Despite Ghana’s progress with fiscal decentralization, there is the need to rethink how best these programs can be enhanced to ensure poverty reduction. This chapter examines the challenge of weak central government institution and lack of financial control at the local, district, and regional level for the implementation of effective fiscal decentralization in Ghana.
Kemi Funlayo Akeju, Olamide Ojogbede

Non-State Actors, Local Governance and Sustainable Development

Changing Role of Traditional Authorities in Local Governance and Development in Ghana
This chapter highlights the changing roles of traditional authorities (also called chiefs) in Ghana from the precolonial to the post-colonial period. It discusses the hybrid local governance system where the chieftaincy institutions currently co-exists with local government institutions in accordance with Ghana's 1992 Constitution and the Local Government Act of 1993 (Act 462). The chapter demonstrates that, despite the weakening of the functions of traditional leaders since the colonial period, they have adapted to the modern times through their neo-traditional roles as development brokers, electoral brokers and key stakeholders in land acquisition processes. In doing so, traditional authorities build on their legitimacy and grassroots support in the communities to partner the government and other international bodies in local development initiatives such as provision of education and health facilities. Again, some traditional authorities also partner with private entities to champion various infrastructural development in their polities, including housing. That said, chiefs have also been noted as 'gatekeepers' of local development and tend to stifle development efforts due to a number of reasons; delay land acquisition for development projects, mismanage and appropriate community resources for their own benefits at the at the expense of their people, lack of accountable governance and transparency concerns. In addition to their customary roles, we examine the positive and negative outcomes of chiefs' neotraditional roles in Ghanaian society and provide recommendations critical for local governance and sustainable local development in the 'millennium turn'.
Kwaku Abrefa Busia, Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei
Non-Governmental Organizations as Partners for Sustainable Local Development: Ghana’s Experiences
The call for decentralization further highlighted the significance of non-state actors. This stemmed from the view that the state particularly in the developing world is not well positioned to address the diverse needs of its people. Representing some form of reduced role for the state, this approach provided a significant justification for the involvement of non-state actors. As a key non-state actor, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) have succeeded in creating a niche in local level development. Informed by the principle of altruism, NGOs work closely with the local people to address social and economic development challenges. The growth of the NGO sector over the years and the appeal such non-state actors have received ignite research interest on their impacts in Ghana’s bottom-up approach to development. The chapter highlights the impact of NGOs on local development and factors that constrain their performance at Ghana’s subnational scale.
Ernestina Armah, Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei
Strengthening Citizen’s Participation in Local Economic Development for Sustainability in Ghana
This chapter focuses on Ghana’s experiences with decentralized local economic development. The rationale behind this choice is that Ghana in recent times has introduced Local Economic Development (LED) as a strategy for enhanced economic growth. After decades of experience with LED, Ghana’s case provides a unique opportunity to assess the significance of people’s participation to development. The chapter evaluates the extent to which citizens’ participation in local economic development through exportation of local goods and services can promote sustainable economic development in Ghana. In addition, it examines the challenges of local economic development.
Jacob Olufemi Fatile, Omoniyi Victor Ajulor, Busayo Qazeem Ibikunle, Adeniyi Olamide Eweje
Decentralising for Democratic Polycentric Local Government System in Ghana: Challenges for Sustainable Development
Inclusive development must necessarily involve the inputs of the grassroots so as to stimulate a sense of involvement, ownership and sustainability. The conviction that a decentralised local government system held the key to inclusive and sustainable development in Ghana became a significant contribution of the PNDC government in the 1980s. The materialisation of this came in 1988 with the enactment of the Local Government Law (1988) PNDC Law 207 that helped in reconstructing the local government system, with decentralised authority to function as agencies for tackling peculiar challenges in local communities. The foundations that were laid in 1988 did provide the necessary substructure for the constitutional dispensation in 1992. With the resumption of constitutional democratic rule, in January 1993, the local government system has been retrofitted for the purpose of realising a polycentric system. This chapter, therefore, makes it a nub issue to ascertain the workings of the democratic polycentric local government system with its challenges.
John Gasu, Gideon Kofi Agbley
Democratic Decentralization, Local Governance and Sustainable Development
herausgegeben von
Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei
Samuel Adu-Gyamfi
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