International Development Planning Review

Decentralised governance, access to social services and poverty reduction in the Gomoa District, Ghana

International Development Planning Review (2007), 29, (3), 379–412.

Abstract

Decentralised governance has become a very important concept in development administration, particularly in the less developed countries, in recent decades. Mixed results of the impact of decentralisation on poverty reduction have been recorded in the development literature. Ghana has a fairly well established decentralised framework for development, which is the main medium for implementing poverty reduction programmes in the country. Using two attributes of decentralised governance – participation and responsiveness – and using the Gomoa district as a case study, this article addresses the question of whether the implementation of decentralised governance has had any positive impact on the delivery of and communities' access to social services (education, health, water and sanitation) and therefore on poverty reduction. The article demonstrates that while there have been improvements in some areas, other areas remain problematic. The article concludes that the Gomoa district might not have achieved even these modest improvements in access to social services without decentralised governance, but that revenue mobilisation remains a serious problem hampering the ability of decentralised government in Ghana to deliver social services.

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Yankson, Paul