Effects of intermediate centres on rural development in Ghana: a comparative study of Obuasi and Asunafo North Municipalities

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August, 2015
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Ghana as a country seems to be upgrading some of its human settlements and delineating its geographic landscape into additional sub administrative units. The upgrade and creation of these sub-settlement structures with its attendant varied infrastructural development is intended to facilitate development and consequently serving their rural hinterlands with their effects. Years into the practice of Ghana’s decentralization policy and processes, and despite efforts being made to improve rural livelihood, rural poverty and wide urban-rural disparity still persist. Yet in an era where the country’s sub-administrative centres, referred to as intermediate centres in this study, are hugely being promoted and undergoing significant socio-economic changes, they are likely to have a profound impact on the conditions of the rural poor and their ability to lift themselves out of poverty. The study was therefore designed to examine how the functional roles played by such sub-administrative units known as intermediate centres could assist to improve the livelihood of the rural poor and thereby bringing about rural development. The Case Study research design was used where two intermediate centres; Obuasi in the Obuasi Municipality and Goaso, in the Asunafo North Municipality, were purposively sampled to identify the functions each play, and the effects that the interactions existing between each one of the centres and three other rural communities also purposively selected from the respective Municipalities have on the latter. Using a confidence level of 92 percent, the sample for the Asunafo North’s case was approximately 156 household heads and that of Obuasi’s case was 157, but to ease comparison, the samples were rounded up to 150 respondents for each study area. This was further subjected to proportions to secure household heads interviewed in each rural community. The study found out that intermediate centres per their level of infrastructure availability perform certain strategic functions which tend to have either a strong or weak interaction with their rural communities. Areas where those strong linkages were identified have had rural livelihood improved than areas where weak linkages existed. The study recommended that policies enacted should rather be targeted at equipping the intermediate centres with requisite infrastructure to perform adequately their intended roles with the spread effect of such functions improving the livelihood of the rural poor and thereby bringing about rural development.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Development Policy and Planning.