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Accepted Paper:

The politics of development in Accra  
Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (University of Ghana Business School)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the influence of Ghana's political settlement dynamics on the governance and development trajectories of Accra.

Paper long abstract:

Ghana's political settlement is characterized by broad-dispersed power configurations. Here, not only are elections closely fought between two political parties with equal strength, but also each party must co-opt a broad range of groups in order to be able to maintain ruling coalitions. These political settlement dynamics have a profound impact on the development of Ghana's capital city, Accra, which is characterised by the poor delivery of services in the context of rapid urbanization. Accra is such a politically-important city that national political elites do not want to lose control over it, given the city's role in shaping presidential election outcomes. Till date, the city's mayors are appointed by the President, typically on the basis of partisan political considerations rather than merit. Mayors are thus expected to mobilize votes and resources in support of the President's re-electioneering bid, while dispensing patronage in ways that allow national elites' control over the city. Central government's control over the city also takes the form of its rapid re-demarcations, such that the number of Accra's district councils increased by over 600% in less than two decades. The result has been the creation of multiple independent centres of power within the city, as each local council operates as an autonomous planning and development authority. In the absence of an effective centralized authority with responsibility for city-wide development, coordination among the city's numerous local councils has been weak, leading to inefficiencies in the planning and implementation of services that have spill over effects across the city.

Panel P11a
The political economy of urban reform in Africa: from analysis to action
  Session 1 Wednesday 6 July, 2022, -