Researching the politics of development



A dynamic mapping of the political settlement in Ghana

Working paper No. 28

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Franklin Oduro, Mohammed Awal and Maxwell Agyei Ashon
Ghana displays a number of features of democratic institutionalisation and is considered a success story of democratic transformation in Africa. This paper examines the quality of Ghana’s political transformation and the nature of its institutions. It seeks to identify the driving power relations and ‘ideas’ which are shaping Ghana’s political and economic development. Following Levy (2012), this involves first framing Ghana as a particular type of competitive clientelist political settlement. The paper also brings agency to the fore by identifying the key actors and members of the ruling coalition that reproduce the political settlement. The final section presents some hypotheses concerning the direct influence of the political settlement on development in Ghana now and in the future. It concludes that in the short- to medium-term Ghana’s democratic politics and development will continue to be informed and shaped by a competitive clientelist electoral politics. In the medium to long term, however, with the increasingly competitive nature of elections and the continuous expansion of the public space, the character of the political settlement in Ghana will create the incentive structure for the ruling coalition to adopt sustainable policies and strategies towards inclusive development.