Small Towns in Ghana: Justifications for their Promotion under Ghana’s Decentralisation Programme

by George Owusu

Abstract

Abstract: A key objective of Ghana’s decentralization programme is the promotion of small towns, particularly district capitals, as a means of reducing rural-urban migration and the rapid growth of large towns and cities. While small towns have grown significantly in both number and population over the last three decades, the proportion of the total urban population living in these urban centres has changed very little or has even declined slightly. This contradicts the view that the growth and proliferation of small towns is leading to declining growth rates of the larger urban centres. This conclusion leads to the question of whether there is a justification for the promotion of small towns under Ghana’s decentralization programme. This article examines the reasons accounting for the growth of small towns and concludes that promoting small towns, especially the district capitals under the current decentralization programme, is a positive response to rural development and the development of dispersed urbanization in the long term.

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George Owusu is a Doctoral Fellow at the University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway. His research interests include rural and urban development, decentralization, and participatory approaches to development.