Promotion of rural service centres for local level development: a case study of the Ejisu-Juaben District

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Ghana’s decentralisation policy is geared towards spreading development to all parts of the district. This calls for strategies which enhance and promote spatial development. The attainment of a even development throughout the district borders on the allocation of resources. It has been realised that resource allocation in the district is more towards the developed areas and this is widening the inequality gap in the district. It is in the light of this that the study was undertaken to identify the deprived areas and adopt strategies to bridge the gap between these deprived areas and the developed areas. An analysis of the spatial pattern of the district was carried out and it was realised that services are concentrated in the urban areas with the majority of settlements in the district having little or no services. Additionally, an accessibility analysis was done and this also revealed that only a small portion of the district is accessible to services. The poor road networking and surface conditions have served as a disincentive for investments of any sort to be sited in the remote hinterlands. This situation has deepened the inequality that exists between developed and undeveloped areas in the district. In order to ascertain the welfare status of the people, their income levels and expenditure patterns as well as occupations engaged in were analysed. Income distribution showed that the urban areas earned twice as much as what pertained in the rural areas. Also, the urban dweller is able to save up to about 28 per cent of incomes whilst savings are only 18 per cent in the rural areas. Again, tendencies of unemployment were highest in the rural areas. The analysis showed that there exists disparities in the distribution of central places and that parts of the district are deprived of essential services which are necessary for local level development. To make the deprived areas more accessible and to become integrated into the whole district spatial system, a number of rural service centres which would attract some basic rural services are proposed. These rural service centres are located such that people can easily have access to services. In this case, people would be able to participate more in decision making and development activities.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1999