Decentralised approach to donor support for development in Ghana - a study of European Union micro-projects programme approach

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Post independence strategies have made the state the main actor in development, often at the expense of other actors. This development approach was also behind European Union cooperation policies which centred on the state. Thus cooperation activities were mainly limited to government relations while decentralised actors were largely kept out. However, since the early 1 980s, this approach to development has progressed towards a more participatory approach which goes beyond governmental relationship to the involvement of decentralised actors. The expression of this is the recent signing of the EU-ACP partnership agreement in Cotonou. The agreement emphasized the principle of participatory development, extending the partnership concept to include a wide range of actors such as civil society, the private sector and local authorities in both the formulation and implementation of policies. The objective of this study is therefore to find out, how the European Union approach to development has evolved over the years and then look at the practical implications of the partnership agreement in the light of the implementation of the micro-projects programme. The study reveals that decentralisation of aid through effective participation of decentralised actors holds the key to greater ownership and sustainability of donor support programmes. However, the involvement of the decentralised actors in the formulation and implementation of policies is not a simple matter as it appears at first sight but a complex issue due to the varying interests of these actors and also the limited capacities of some of them. Certain recommendations have been made such as the need to build the capacities of decentralised actors to enable them participates effectively in both policy formulation and implementation.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Development Policy and Planning, 2001