Understanding

Author: Botchway, Karl
Year:2004
Pages:280
ISBN:0-7734-6224-4
978-0-7734-6224-3
Price:199.95
In recent times, the development enterprise globally has incorporated into its vocabulary notions about “participation,” “empowerment” and “sustainability”. What do these concepts mean in practice? In this book, the author investigates an ambitious development project in the Northern Region of Ghana that talks of such a promise. The author problematizes the notion of development and studies development intervention as an arena of negotiations and struggle. The author makes the case that the institutionalization of these concepts is questionable when development interventions reflect a blindness to the wider socio-economic processes, which contributed to the need for development in the first place. This book will make an important contribution to methods of social research that enables us to best study and understand development interventions.

Reviews

“This book will contribute to the fields of public policy, political science, African and Third World/International Development. It seeks to be one of the first book-length studies that provide a full description and explanation of why the Northern regions of Ghana are some of the poorest in Africa and arguably in all of the Third World. Professor Botchway's book uses The Northern Region Rural Integrated Program in Ghana to assess how a unique "bottom up" approach to development was affected by socio-political conditions … This book derives its strength from two strong contributions to numerous disciplines. It is very well documented and provides more than an ample supply of sources to buttress key issues and ideas. Another important value is the historical account of the fundamental causes of the current abject poverty of most parts of Northern Ghana. Professor Botchway meticulously traces the gross underdevelopment of these parts of Ghana to how the British (during colonial rule) deliberately and systematically used this region to provide laborers to the cocoa farms and gold and other mines in southern Ghana. Thus this book shows that the abject poverty of Northern Ghana was the direct consequence of British use of workers from the North to meet the need for regular and very cheap labor in the colonial export enclave in the former Gold Coast, today's Ghana … On both practical and theoretical levels, Professor Botchway is able to make numerous contributions. This is one of the first books, if not the first, to explain why up to today, most Ghanaians, especially professionals such as medical doctors, nurses, teachers and others are very reluctant to relocate in Northern Ghana for employment. This book therefore enhances our understanding of a major policy dilemma in contemporary Ghana-how to shift human capital and other resources to the area Ghanaians refer to as "the North" to promote development in an equitable manner.

An important point demonstrated by Professor Botchway is that contrary to the popular but erroneous view in the development literature, Northern Ghana's poverty is directly the consequence of deliberate British colonial development policies and practices. He therefore strongly objects to and he is effectively able to discount the prevalent notion that the poverty of Northern Ghana is due to physical ecology. He draws attention to the fact that although Northern Nigeria has similar, if not the same physical ecology, because British intentions, priorities and practices were radically different, Northern Nigeria was not only developed but due to British preference, the Northerners have been dominant in Nigerian political leadership, at least in terms of who was the Head of State. He goes further by showing that we continue to associate this region in Ghana with dire poverty because all post-independent regimes have failed to tackle this region's development challenges. Thus Professor Botchway successfully debunks the intuitively popular but incorrect view that the poverty of Northern Ghana is caused by harsh physical conditions. He shows beyond doubt that the British are the original culprits. Post-independent governments, international donors and their public policy advisers and practitioners have failed to overcome this adverse British legacy.

Professor Botchway is able to provide a valuable book by using a political economy approach that critically evaluates development in Northern Ghana by scrutinizing the historical evolution of relevant events which in turn allows him to do a truly longitudinal study that leads to the exposure of often neglected socio-economic factors or reasons. Thus using an approach that includes historical accounts, the author is able to provide a comprehensive study of some of the profound issues in Ghana, Africa and the Third World-why and how so much severe poverty prevails.” – Dr. Kwamin Panford, Associate Vice Provost and Chair, African-American Studies, Northeastern University

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Preface
Acknowledgements
1. Introduction 2. Northern Ghana Development in Historical Perpective
3.Norrip's Conceptual Apparatus. Are Developmental Planners Afraid of History and Contextualization?
4. The Paradox of Empowerment: The Integrated Village Water Projects (IVWP) of Norrip
5. The Politics of Development
6. Conclusion
Bibliography
Index