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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Civil Society in Post-Colonial Ghana: A Case Study of the Ghana Institution of Engineers
Author:McGough, Laura J.
Periodical:Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:professional associations
political systems
Development and Technology
Education and Oral Traditions
History and Exploration
Abstract:The Ghana Institution of Engineers provides an excellent case study of civil society's relationship to government. No profession is as clearly linked to development as engineering, and with each successive government emphasizing engineering projects as key to Ghana's development, the field of engineering became enmeshed in the political process. Since its establishment in 1968, the Institution has at times served as an opposition to government and promoter of democracy; at other times it has colluded with government and its membership has suffered from the same problems of corruption. Fundamentally, the Institution served - or tried to serve - the interests of its members, that is, professional engineers. The experience of the Ghana Institution of Engineers suggests that civil society institutions can serve as a check on arbitrary government rule and corruption, and that they do this best by pursuing their own interests. The Institution's promotion of 'engineering principles and standards' has sometimes provided a standard of reference beyond political expediency for making crucial policy decisions. However, the perennial financial problems of the Ghana Institution of Engineers have limited its effectiveness as an opposition force to military governments, especially since engineers still depend on government contracts for much of their work. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]