District Assembly Common Fund and Poverty Reduction In Rural Ghana; the Case of Asante-Akim North District

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The study examines the utilisation of the District Assembly Common Fund by Assemblies in Ghana towards rural poverty reduction and its challenges to reduce rural poverty. One major problem facing local development is how to have a more reliable source revenue to develop the rural areas through an efficient local government administration. Poverty has been a serious developmental problem in Ghana for many years. The results of the Ghana Living Standard Surveys (GLSS) in 1987-88, 1991-92 and 1998-99 showed that poverty was more pronounced in rural areas than urban centres although urban poverty was identified. It was realised that the multi-dimensional nature of poverty needs a holistic approach which involves the poor in looking for appropriate interventions to reduce their poverty level. The introduction of the decentralization policy in 1988 and the subsequent establishment of District Assemblies’ Common Fund in 1994 were meant to reduce rural poverty through the provision of social services, credit facilities and people’s participation in the development process. The utilisation of the fund by the District Assemblies faces a lot of challenges. Key among them is inadequate social services, lack of involvement of the people, irregularities in contract awarding system, inefficient project monitoring, over-reliance on the fund, low capacity of both the staff and the members of the Assembly. These have undermined the Assembly’s effort to reduce poverty. The study draws on research conducted between 2006 and 2007, using the Asante-Akim North District as a case study. The study adopted qualitative type of research due to the multi- dimensional nature of poverty. The research procedure adopted for the study involved three levels of data collection and analysis. These are the national, district and community levels. The case study approach was identified as the appropriate methodology for the research. Focus group discussions, direct observations and interview schedules were particularly administered to the key staff members of the District Assembly and some decentralised departments including, health and education. Following from the findings, the study concludes that to ensure efficient utilisation of the DACF to effectively reduce poverty levels in the rural areas, there is the need to ensure increased people’s participation at the community level in policy making and implementation, regular capacity building, and the need for political and administrative commitment for judicious use of the District Assembly Common Fund.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Geography and Rural Development,Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the of the degree of Master of Arts