Do Chinese and European Development Programs Benefit the Political and Economic Development in Ghana? Research Proposal

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¶ … Chinese and European development programs benefit the political and economic development in Ghana?

Today, given the Millennium Development Goals and the overall general movement on development, there is a constant tendency of the developed countries to provide increased attention and assistance to the African continent. In this sense, the U.S. launched its Africa Development Foundation, China, in its turn established its China-Africa Development Fund, whereas the European Commission established a large part of its strategic partnerships with African states. However, these initiatives are not without criticism. Thus, it is considered by analysts that the new development programs established by the developed countries sometimes seem to be more beneficial for the donors, rather than for the direct beneficiaries, the African continent. The majority of African countries may benefit from oil and mineral resources that have the potential of transforming economies. but, the general opinion among scholars is that these resources represent more a curse than a blessing. The opponents of the foreign development programs in Africa believe that the world's developed countries are more concerned with the potential economic benefit from African oil, copper and cobalt sources rather than with the sound end sustainable development of the African countries, in all of their economic, political, and most importantly social perspectives.

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Given the nature of the debate raised by this constant discussion over development theories, its benefits and shortcomings, my thesis will analyse the way in which the development programs underway in Africa benefited sustainable development. More precisely, the analysis points out whether the new development programs encourage the transformation of the potential of natural resources into resources for human development, economic and political construction or, on the contrary, only foster the political and economic instability within some African states.

Research Proposal on Do Chinese and European Development Programs Benefit the Political and Economic Development in Ghana? Assignment

Given the wide variety of characteristics inside the African continent, the thesis focuses on the example of Ghana and its relation with two of its most important donors, the EU and China. More precisely, the focus is on the development programs undergone by the two donors and there impact on the future development programs for Ghana. Ghana is a peaceful and stable democracy, which makes good progress toward its goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2020. In 2008 it was revealed that Ghana has substantial oil reserves which will become available in 2010.Ghana's government anticipates that oil and gas will generate about $500 million in revenues in 2011. With economic growth rates even as high as 6 per cent over recent years, Ghana is "an emerging African economic success story" (CIDA 2010). However, even though this country is moving fast towards its economic development, Ghana ranks 130 out of 169 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2010 human development index (UNDP 2010). Therefore, there is no doubt that Ghana still needs some innovative development programs, which will let its Development indicators increase in the nearest future. Both the EU and China promise to do that with the help of their development aid programs.

Even though Ghana is known for its stability and democratic government, the country has a poor record of managing finances transparently. Therefore, there are not only doubts concerning the hidden motives of the economic powers which are conducting their development programs in Ghana, but there are also some doubts about who in Ghana will benefit from such programs. In this sense, my thesis also aims to identify whether the aid from the Chinese and European development programs benefits the Ghanaian power holders, or the people of Ghana. Thus, both of the above mentioned issues, of Ghana's 'external' and 'internal' benefit from the EU and Chinese development programs are discussed.

It is rather hard to determine the extent to which development programs reach their aim in a short period of time. Development theories consider long periods of time for impact assessment (Chachage, 1987). This is one of the most important aspects for which a research paper in the field cannot be considered comprehensive enough without a fifty-year background for analysis. However, partial results may show that both China and the European Union are faced with the stringencies of the market economy and globalization and are therefore more oriented towards emerging countries that in turn can become equal trade partners especially in the natural resources area. On the other hand, development programs do benefit the population of Ghana especially given the specificities of the donors. In this sense, China for instance is a project-oriented donor that implies the existence of an idea based on government initiatives (Mohan, 2010). Overall, it can be argued that a clear-cut answer to the research question is both difficult to provide and is not advisable, given the fact that a statement one way or another would limit the possibilities and directions for further research.

Literature Review:

Give the narrow path of the research question, the public popular information on the subject is relatively scarce. However, international organizations such as the UN with its development agency, the UNDP, as well as the European Union provide extensive information on the evaluation of the development programs in Africa in general, and in Ghana in particular, as well as on the overall political and economic situation in Ghana.

One of the most important documents in the field of development is considered to be the Human Development Report issues annually by the United Nations. The UN represents in this sense one of the most accredited and useful resource for research largely because in its status as an international organization and development agent, it has provided extensive knowledge and experience in development aid and assistance. For the purpose of the research the latest HDR is used extensively to offer a starting point for the analysis on the situation in Ghana. Currently, according to the 2010 HDR, Ghana is on the 130th position, in the category of low human development index (UNDP, 2010). More precisely, it is considered that Ghana is still an underdeveloped country. Even so, the UN Report on Least Developed Countries does not make reference to Ghana, a fact that is encouraging for the African state (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 2010).

The Human Development Index is crucial because it represents a composite index taking into account several aspects of life, from infant mortality to the level of literacy among adults. However, the value for Ghana is 0.467 whereas Cambodia for instance (a country which has constantly experienced historical, political, economic, and social unrest) is above Ghana, a well-balanced emerging economy. This aspect alone reflects the need for time in order to ensure the visibility of development benefits. The shortcomings of the HDR consist mainly, as presented in the preface of the document, in the complete reliance on national statistics. In this sense, the facts and classifications are established according to national information sources that may be out-dated or may lack credibility.

Similar resources are available throughout the UN system, from the HDR to the Least Developed Countries Report that combine the theory of sustainable development with the facts and figures from the countries around the world. These include the official internet sources of UNDP Ghana, which is the representative of the United Nations Development Program in the country as well as other UN sources related to development reports on Ghana.

A good source for the theory of development in the Cold War period is Chachage's "Towards a critique of development theories in Africa" of 1987. The author offers a comprehensive overview on development theories from the end of the Second World War to 1987. In his perspective, "The post-World War period witnessed, in Europe and USA, the emergence of studies dealing with "social change"; "patterns of development and "development strategies" which promote economic prosperity. At the same time politicians and institutions such as the World Bank, International Labour Organization, and major commercial banks became involved in promoting "economic growth" spending (and still spend) large amounts of money." (Chachage, 1987) More precisely, his input is important because he offers an important perspective on the way in which development transformed during the Cold War in the context of the emergence of donor countries on the one hand, and the Bretton Woods institutions on the other. His insight provides the background for development analysis. The shortcoming of his perspective is related in particular to the limited time under analysis as well as the extensive theoretical perspective it provides to the subject.

On a more applied note, Robert P. Amstrong's book, "Ghana Country Assistance Review: A Study in Development Effectiveness" represents a valuable source for information particularly because it is a World Bank publication. This can have its benefits and shortcomings. The 1996 publication offers a perspective from the WB on how development impacted Ghana at that moment. Indeed, the research and information are extensive and is a trustworthy source of data. At the same time though, its shortcomings, aside from its lack of actuality, is the potentially bias nature of the information. In this sense, "the review finds that WB loans of more than $2 billion… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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