The present: since 2000

Since 2000, Ghana has developed and implemented a number of development plans. Not all of them have a direct relationship with regional development. Among these plans are the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I and II) 2000-2005, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) 2009, the National Urban Policy Framework 2012, the Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill, 2013 and the National Spatial Development Framework (NSDF).

The Ghana poverty reduction strategy (GPRS I and II) of2000- 2005 and the GSGDA of 2009

Both GPRS I and II placed much emphasis on macroeconomic policies—to reduce poverty through the stimulation of economic growth, and also address regional inequality in poverty. At the end of GPRS I, substantial gains had been made in school enrollment, social intervention programs and a reduction in the national poverty rate. However, most of the resource allocation went to the most populous regions and not to the most impoverished ones (Abdulai and Hulme, 2015). The extension GPRS II had difficult starting conditions because of the rise in oil prices, food imports and theglobal recession (Ofei-Aboagye, 2016). The GSGDA of 2009/2010 was introduced to address the challenges that GPRS I and II were not able to address and mitigate. It focused more on stimulating private sector competition. In addition, it intended to assure macroeconomic stability, accelerated agricultural development and modernization, the development of oil and gas production, infrastructure and human settlement development, human development, productivity, and employment, and transparency and good governance (Akudugu, 2018). In 2010, the idea of local economic development (LED) was introduced into the GSGDA. Its application was limited to enhancing private sector competition with the goal of supporting effectiveness and efficiency. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) decided to co-sponsor a pilot program that helped districts to learn how to draft plans. Seven districts including one metropolitan and one municipal district were chosen for the pilot. The program finally failed, as none of the districts were able to implement a plan beyond the design stage. The main reason was that the districts thought that as the UNDP was involved in the project that the UNDP would provide funding to implement their plans. For that reason, they did not make any provisions for how they would fund their own plans (Akudugu, 2018).

Indeed, there were more problems with the way the district assemblies were financed. For example, Mogues and Benin (2012) show that external revenue sources from the central governments and donors constitute a greater part of the budget of local governments. These often came with specific project targets that were not necessarily the priorities of local governments, which limited local initiatives. In addition, the study found that these sources further reduced the incentives of local governments to generate their own revenues over which they have more discretionary use.

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