Accepted paper:

The political economy of spatial development disparities in Ghana and Uganda


Badru Bukenya (Makerere University)
Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (University of Ghana Business School)

Paper short abstract:

Our research contributes to deepening understanding of the political economy drivers of spatial inequality. Drawing evidence from Ghana and Uganda, we show that politics and the character of inter-elite power relations are the central drivers of spatial inequality in Africa.

Paper long abstract:

What explains the persistence of spatial development disparities between the northern and southern parts of Ghana and Uganda? Employing a political settlements framework, we argue that the historical north-south development divide in these countries is best explained by long-term processes of marginalization and adverse incorporation of the northern regions and their elites into political and bureaucratic structures, and by the nature of dominant ideas around major redistributive policies. However the growing attention to the development of the marginalized northern regions in the countries (e.g. through special development initiatives) and the subsequent reductions in the levels of poverty in these regions suggest that changes in national electoral dynamics can result in new alliances that benefit historically lagging regions.

panel K02
Spatial inequality in the Global South (Paper)