Skip to main content Accesibility Help

Ghana: Structural Adjustment, Democratization, and the Politics of Continuity

  • Kwame Boafo-Arthur

Following the collapse of the Communist bloc, it has virtually become conventional for developing countries to embark on the simultaneous pursuit of structural adjustment and democratization. Some countries such as Ghana started with adjustment for almost a decade before democratization. However, the joint pursuit of adjustment and democratization has engendered intense debate among academics and policy-makers. Given the “mechanisms” adopted by governments with the support of the World Bank and the IMF to impose adjustment policies on many developing countries prior to political liberalization, and given the underpinnings of democracy, some argue that the two processes are antithetical. The seemingly embedded determinism of the incompatibility thesis is challenged by the Ghanaian case study. The Ghanaian case demonstrates diat domestic sociopolitical dynamics may facilitate the pursuit of adjustment and democratization pari passu. These dynamics revolve around the general receptivity to adjustment by critical societal groups, the strength of associational groups, the absence of viable alternatives, and the continued support by the international donor community for adjustment.


Après la chute du bloc communiste, il est devenu quasiment conventionnel pour les pays en voie de développement d'entreprendre la poursuite simultanée de l'ajustement structurel et de la démocratisation. Quelques pays comme le Ghana ont débuté avec une politique d'ajustement durant presque une décennie avant leur démocratisation. Cependant, la recherche conjointe de l'ajustement et de la démocratisation a engendré des débats intenses parmi les universitaires et les responsables politiques. Étant donnés les ‘mécanismes’ adoptés par les gouvernements avec le soutien de la Banque Mondiale et du FMI afin d'imposer des politiques d'ajustement à un grand nombre de pays en voie de développement avant leur libéralisation politique, et étant donnés les fondements de la démocratie, certains affirment que ces deux processus sont antithétiques. Le déterminisme apparemment immuable de la thèse de l'incompatibilité est remis en question par l'étude du cas du Ghana. Le cas du Ghana démontre que les dynamiques socio-politiques nationales pourraient faciliter la poursuite de l'ajustement et de la démocratization à un même rythme. Ces dynamiques sont dépendantes de la réceptivité générale à l'ajustement par des groupes sociétaux critiques, la force des groupes associés, l'absence d'alternatives viables, et le soutien continu à l'ajustement par la communauté donatrice internationale.

Hide All
African Business. 1990. 03, 10–11.
Ampem, Nana Wereko. 1994. Ghana's Economic Progress: The Dreams, the Realities and the Prospects. Accra: Accra Academy.
Anyemedu, Kwesi. 1993. “The Economic Policies of the PNDC.” In Gyimah-Boadi, , ed., Ghana Under PNDC Rule. Dakar: CODESRIA, 1347.
Appiah-Opoku, S. 1998. “The World Bank's Structural Adjustment Programs in Africa: The Case of Ghana.” Africa Notes. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University, 610.
Arthiabah, P. 1994. Trade Unions and Economic Structural Adjustment in Ghana. Accra: Fredrick Ebert Foundation.
Asenso-Okyere, W. 1989. The Response of Farmers to Ghana's Adjustment Policies (mimeo).
Bangura, Yusuf. 1992. “Authoritarian Rule and Democracy in Africa: A Theoretical Discourse.” In Gibbon, Peter, Bangura, Yusuf, and Ofslad, Arve, eds., Authoritarianism, Democracy and Adjustment: The Politics of Reforms in Africa. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies.
Boafo-Arthur, K. 1989. “Prelude to Ghana's Transition: An Examination of the Process.” In Ninsin, Kwame A. and Drah, Kofi, eds., Ghana's Transition to Authoritarian Rule. Accra: University of Ghana Press, 3449.
Boafo-Arthur, K. . 1995. “Managing Inter Party Conflict in Ghanaian Politics: Lessons from the NPP-NDC Dialogue.” In Oquaye, Mike, ed., Democracy and Conflict Resolution in Ghana. Accra: Gold Type Publishers.
Boakye-Danquah, Y. 1992. “Structural Adjustment Programs and Welfare Interventions: The Case of Ghana.” Africa Insight 22/4: 240–52.
Botchwey, Kwesi. 1993. “The Political Economy of Structural Adjustment: What Role Planning?DPMN Bulletin 1/1: 46.
Bratton, N. and van de Walle, . 1992. “Towards Governance in Africa: Popular Demands and State Responses.” In Hyden, Goran and Bratton, Michael, eds., Governance and Politics in Africa. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner.
Callaghy, Thomas M. 1990. “Lost Between State and Market: The Politics of Economic Adjustment in Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria.” Nelson, Iin Joan, ed., Economic Crisis and Policy Choice in Africa. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner.
Callaghy, Thomas M.. 1993. “Political Passions and Economic Interests: Economic Reform and Political Structure in Africa.” In Callaghy, T. M. and Ravenhill, J., eds., Hemmed in: Responses to Africa's Economic Decline. New York: Columbia University Press, 463519.
Commonowealth Secretariat. 1992. Report on the Presidential Elections in Ghana. London: Marlborough House.
Daily Graphic. 1993. (05 22).
Daily Graphic. 1994. (01 8, 24).
Elbadawi, I. A., Ghura, Dhaneshwar, and Uwujaren, G.. How Structual Adjustment Has Not Succeeded in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
Ewusi, Kwadwo. 1987. Structural Adjustment and Stabilization Policies in Developing Countries: The Case Study of Ghana's Experience, 1983–86. Tema: Ghana Publishing Corporation.
Free Press. 1993. (01 7–13).
Ghana News Bulletin. 1993. (06 24).
Ghai, Dharam. 1991. The IMF and the South: The Social Impact of Crisis and Adjustment. London: Zed Books.
Gibbon, Peter. 1992. “Structural Adjustment and Pressure toward Multipartyism in Sub-Saharan Africa.” In Gibbon, , Bangura, , and Ofstave, , eds., Authoritarianism, Democracy and Adjustment: The Politics of Economic Reforms in Africa. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Affairs, 156–57.
Government of Ghana. 1987. Budget Statement. Tema: State Publishing Corporation.
Haggard, S. and Kaufman, R. R.. 1989. “Economic Adjustment in New Democracies.” In Nelson, Joan, ed., Fragile Coalitions: The Politics of Economic Adjustment. Oxford: Transaction Books, 1989, 5960.
Healey, J. and Robinson, M.. 1992. Democracy, Governance and Economic Policy: Sub-Saharan Africa in Comparative Perspective. London: ODI.
Healey, J. and Robinson, M.. 1995. The Design of Economic Reforms in the Context of Political Liberalization. London: ODI.
Herbst, Jeffrey. 1993. The Politics of Reforms in Ghana, 1982–1991. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Hultman, T. 1993. “World Bank Takes Turn: Help Africa Help ItselfHerald Tribune, 05 22–23.
Hutchful, E. 1992. The International Dimensions of the Democratization Process in Africa. (Paper presented at the 7th General Assembly on Democratization Processes in Africa). Dakar: CODESRIA.
Hutchful, E.. 1985. “IMF Adjustment in Ghana since 1966.” Africa Development 10/12.
Jeong, Ho-Won. 1997. “The Role of African States in Economic Development.” Africa Insight 27/2: 8590.
Jonah, Kwesi. 1989. “Changing Relations between IMF and the Government of Ghana: 1960–1987.” In Hanson, E. and Ninsin, K. A., eds., The State, Development and Politics in Ghana. London: CODESRIA, 94115.
Klein, E. and Giegerich, T.. 1989. “Parliamentary Democracy under the Basic Law: Characteristics and Status.” Universitas 31.
Kusi, N. K. 1991. “Ghana: Can Adjustment Reforms be Sustained?Africa Development 16/3–4.
Leftwich, A. 1994. “Governance, the State and Politics of Development.” Development and Change 25.
Libby, R. L. 1976. “External Cooptation of a Less Developed Country's Policy-Making: The Case of Ghana.” World Politics 1/10, 6789.
Mkandawire, T. 1992. “The Political Economy of Development with a Democratic Face.” In Cornia, Giovanni A., der Hoeven, , and Mkandawire, T., eds., Africa's Recovery in the 1990s. London: St. Martin's Press.
Moseley, P., Harrigan, J. and Toye, John. 1991. Aid and Power: The World Bank and Policy-Based Lending in the 1980s. London: Routledge.
Nelson, Joan. 1990. “The Politics of Economic Adjustment in Developing Countries.” In Nelson, Joan, ed., Fragile Coalitions: The Politics of Economic Adjustment. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Panford, Kwamina. 1997. “Ghana: A Decade of IMF/World Bank's Policies of Adjustment (1985–1995).” Scandinavian Journal of Development Alternatives and Area Studies 16/2 (06).
Remmer, Karen L. 1993. “The Political Economy of Elections in Latin America.” American Political Science Review 87/2.
Rothchild, Donald. 1991. Ghana: The Political Economy of Recovery. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner.
Rudebeck, L. 1992. “Politics and Structural Adjustment in a West African Village.” In Rudebeck, Lars, ed., When Democracy Makes Sense. AKUT: Uppsala University Press.
Sawyerr, A. 1991. Marginalization of Africa and Human Development (mimeo).
Schmitz, G. and Hutchful, E.. 1992. Democratization and Popular Participation in Africa. Ottawa: North-South Institute.
Sirrowy, L. and Inkeles, A.. 1990. “The Effects of Democracy on Economic Growth and Inequality: A Review.” Studies in Comparative International Development 25/1 (Spring).
Toye, John. 1991. “Ghana.” In Moseley, Paul, Harrigan, Jane, and Toye, John, eds., Aid and Power: The World Bank and Policy-Based Lending in the 1980s. Vol.2. New York: Roudedge.
West Africa. 1993. (07 19–25).
World Bank. 1984. Ghana: Policies and Programs for Adjustment. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
World Bank. 1993. Ghana: 2000 and Beyond. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed