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Small towns and decentralized development in Ghana : theory and practice

[journal article]

Owuso, George

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Abstract The implementation of Ghana's decentralisation programme has involved the strengthening of district administrative capitals, defined in this article as small towns, as focal points for the socio-economic development of districts. Government and donor resources have therefore been directed at improving the infrastructure of these centres, in order to enable them to cope with their increased functions and to perform their new role more efficiently. Though district capitals have been recognised as important in the implementation of the decentralisation programme, few studies have been done on the role and the linkages between these centres and their hinterlands (districts) as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the strategy. This article provides a model for the role of district capitals and their linkages with their respective districts under the decentralisation programme; it also operationalises the model in the form of a case study of a district and its capital. The article stresses the usefulness of using district capitals as stimuli to district development, but notes that the desired goal can probably only be achieved by genuine decentralisation policies backed and powered by local participatory democracy, both in the political and economic field.
Keywords Ghana; West Africa; small town; decentralization; town; urban development; city-country relationship; regional planning; regional development; administration; structure; socioeconomic development
Classification Sociology of Developing Countries, Developmental Sociology; Area Development Planning, Regional Research
Publication Year 2004
Page/Pages p. 165-195
Journal Afrika Spectrum, 39 (2004) 2
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works