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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Good governance and decentralization in Ghana: retrospect and prospects
Author:Ayee, Joseph R.A.
Periodical:Démocraties africaines
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:political systems
Abstract:This paper examines the impact of decentralization on the quality of governance in Ghana and the implications of Ghana's experience for other countries in Africa. It is widely acknowledged that decentralization has the potential of enhancing good governance. However, the relationship between the two remains ambiguous. It all depends on the quality of the programme of decentralization. The author establishes criteria for assessing decentralization and then evaluates Ghana's decentralization programme, which began in 1992. Its structure and features show the aim was to set up a system of administration in which functions, powers, responsabilities and resources were transferred to local government units, the District Assemblies (DAs). This involved a delegation of power as well as a change in the power relationships and the distribution of tasks between levels of government. In retrospect, Ghana has not yet moved from its centralized system of administration. Decentralization seems to have made some contributions to good governance, but these are marginal vis-à-vis the stated objectives of the programme. There are various factors that account for this situation and the challenges facing the process are daunting. What Africa might learn from this experience is that decentralization is not a panacea for all problems but can still contribute to democratic development and good governance. Bibliogr.