American University
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Ethnic conflict and development resource allocation: The case of Ghana

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posted on 2023-09-06, 02:58 authored by Joshua Teye Tetteh

This study grew out of the need for academic contributions to the reconceptualization of national society and its development, especially as it pertains to multiethnic developing nations in sub-Saharan Africa. It attempts to explain what happens when ethnic conflict becomes linked with national development policy making, using Ghana as a case study. Between 1951 and 1981, Ghana, a multiethnic nation with considerable development potential, fell into the commotion of ethnic conflict over regional allocation of development resources. This study examines the manner in which ethnic and regional particularism gained force in the development process in Ghana and how that issue has contributed to its development inertia during that period. It highlights the following themes in nation-building in Ghana--ethnicity, ethnic conflict, socio-economic inequality, regionalism, and ethnic competition--seen as distinguishing characteristics of ethnic conflict in development in Ghana. Twisted development thinking (which associates development more with region of ethnic origin than with national society), cultivated largely by sensitizing the various ethnic groups through the policy process to regional consciousness, is the underlying factor of disorderly development in Ghana. This places enormous pressure on scarce resources, and, hence, conflict over allocation is intensified. The methodology used in this dissertation is the analysis of existing data. Main sources include library holdings, archival materials, government documents and Ghanaian newspapers. The study concludes that ethnic conflict over resource allocation in Ghana is not an end in itself. It is the means by which various ethnic groups secure resources for their separate development interests. The resulting uneven development resource allocation increases poverty and vulnerability to socio-economic hardships, while it heightens inter-group antagonisms, ethnic mobilization, and ethnic polarization. Ghana cannot achieve orderly development on the foundations of fragmented ethnic interests. As a crucial step towards societal change, Ghanaians need to rethink development in the terms of consensus-building and pursuit of mutual interests.







Ph.D. American University 1998.


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