The paper highlights the main policy levers in Ghana and examines the influence they exert on policy processes. The analysis points to a paradox in post-colonial Ghana: recurrent economic and political upheavals but a relative absence of the violent conflicts that have afflicted other West African states. The role of Ghanaian policy-levers in preventing conflict therefore merits consideration alongside their role in implementing research findings. Three broad categories of policy-levers are considered in the paper: state institutions and government, policy levers in civil society and the private sector, and international policy levers. The policy levers discussed range from ministries and local governments to chieftaincy institutions, religious organisations, NGOs, trade unions and the private sector. Their role as political actors as well as the political context in which they operate is considered. The return to multi-party politics in 1993 and the inauguration of the fourth republic are touched on briefly at the beginning of the paper in an overview of Ghanaian post-colonial politics. One impact of structural adjustment and democratisation has been the increased influence of international organisations in Ghana. Many of the domestic policy levers are dependent on donors or 'northern' NGOs for funds and influenced by them in their research and advocacy. Aid dependency and high levels of external debt gives international organisations leverage in Ghana, but at times incapacities or opposition within the government means conditionalities are not fulfilled. Policy recommendations from CRISE are similarly only likely to be implemented if there is the necessary political support and administrative capacity. On a positive note, Ghana's social and political institutions have contributed to the prevention of large-scale conflict in Ghana since independence - their practices and norms might not need radical change and could be usefully compared to those of institutions in other West African states.
CRISE Policy Context Paper 6, Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity, Oxford, UK, 33 pp.