This book explores the reality of balancing central-local relations in the provision of basic services in Ghana. The author’s finding is that decentralization in practice in Ghana does not reflect the devolution objective specified by the country’s laws. The design and implementation of reforms have resulted in a hybrid of types of decentralization rather than the dominance of one type (devolution) as prescribed by the law.
Moreover, there appears to be little consideration for the outcomes of decentralization in terms of better services. It appears that the goals of Ghana’s decentralization reforms are not linked directly to improvements in provision of basic services. Reforms have focused more on the government administrative structure and less on service delivery agencies and their performance. The contribution of the private sector and non-governmental organizations in improving the delivery of basic services has not been systematically explored.
Nevertheless, as the evidence shows, local governments are able to deepen decentralization through the roles they choose to play despite constraints from the centre. A proactive local government positions itself and develops instruments to work with centralized agencies, including public utilities, and the non-state sector for the provision of better services. The performance of local governments in the provision of basic services is determined by how well they play three roles, namely, leadership, brokerage and oversight roles.
The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), established in 1958, is an independent educational organization based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. IHS is active in the field of housing, urban management and urban environmental management in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. IHS offers post-graduate training, research and advisory services to national and local governments, multilateral and bilateral agencies and private companies.