Pathway(s) to Inclusive Development in Ghana: Oil, Subnational-National Power Relations and Ideas

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Emmanuel Asante


Emmanuel Pumpuni Asante, 8th July 2016The University of Manchester, Doctor of PhilosophyPathway(s) to Inclusive Development in Ghana: Oil, Subnational-National Power Relations and Ideas Abstract The discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Guinea and parts of East Africa has once again raised expectations that sustained development will emerge in one of the world's poorest regions. At the same time there is great concern that Africa's new resource-rich countries will succumb to the so-called resource curse phenomenon because of their generally weak governance institutions. In response to this challenge, the international community has intensified its efforts to promote good governance mechanisms in such countries, focused on transparency and accountability, and informed by a dominant institutionalist literature which argues that the differences in resource governance outcomes can be explained by the differences in institutional design and performance. A recent turn to politics in both the development and resource curse literature has begun to move the research agenda beyond the primacy of institutions to look at the politics that underpin the emergence and performance of institutions. This is particularly evidenced in the emerging literature on political settlements that emphasise the distribution of power amongst social groups in society and how these power relations shape institutions and in turn development outcomes. This new political lens is helping to deepen analysis of how and why resource-rich countries prevent or succumb to the resource curse and provides an opportunity to interrogate the inclusive development prospects of Africa's new oil-rich countries.In this thesis, I apply and extend the political settlement approaches by incorporating ideational and spatial dynamics, to analyse the prospect of inclusive development outcomes in Ghana where oil and gas resources were discovered in 2007. Focusing on the power relations between and amongst national elites and elites in the oil producing Western Region, I interrogate the ways in which the spatial dynamics of Ghana's prevailing competitive clientelist political settlement is shaping the governance of the oil sector, and the implications it has for inclusive development. I find that at the onset of a resource boom, the dynamics of local politics, and the dominant incentives and ideas generated by the political settlement has strongly shaped the content and enforcement of Ghana's foundation institutions to manage the oil sector, in ways that reinforces the pre-oil settlement around the governance of natural resources and undermines the long-term prospects for inclusive development. At the same time, the oil boom has also been accompanied by the increased use of formal institutions and suggests that Ghana may be moving away from personalised to more programmatic forms of clientelism.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2016