Economic Development Pathways for Local Area Development: A Guide to Understanding Local Economic Development and its Implementational Challenges in Ghana

Since 1988, Ghana has embarked on a more vigorous agenda of decentralisation where power and resources have been made available to the local governments to realise their own development agenda. This policy decision has engendered more praise and admiration as a boost in the process of consolidating the county's democratic gains. Rather than waiting on the central government for very minimal level of development support, communities in Ghana now had governments (local political administrations) closer to them usually cited in the district capitals. Complains and agitations for enhanced service delivery no longer had to wait for months and in some cases years to be heard as one could now drive to a nearby government administrative body to lodge such complains. Over three decades of implementing Ghana's decentralisation agenda, local level development has not been exactly what the local residents expected. In recent times, there is even more calls for investment and development in communities that what used to exist some 30 years back. There are increased calls for job opportunities in the local areas in the various districts or municipalities; the lack of which compels the teeming youth to move to cities in search of better livelihoods. Whereas successive governments since Ghana's independence have tried to spread developments across the country with the latest attempts at empowering MMDAs to take charge, the gap in local level investments continuous to widen. The MMDAs themselves have failed to create the platforms for local businesses to spring up and thrive.