Is Ghana serious about decentralization?

BY DANIELLE RESNICK

On March 15, Ghana celebrated the creation of 38 new metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDA), increasing the total number from 216 to 254. Since 2000, the number of districts has more than doubled with new MMDAs also created in 2004, 2008, and 2012. As in each prior case, the government justified the most recent territorial splitting by claiming that the new MMDAs would help deepen decentralization and thereby “accelerate socioeconomic development.” Yet, it seems that more difficult reforms that would truly improve the ability of local governments in Ghana to provide services are being pursued with less vigor.