n Journal of African Elections - American democratic support to Ghana's Fourth Republic : assistance or encumbrance?

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



The end of the Cold War ushered the world into a new era of democratic governance. Citizens in developing countries began to actively contribute to the democratic process, by demanding probity and accountability in existing governance structures. The international donor community added to these efforts by responding to the challenge of the new wave of democratisation in the late 1980s, by embracing 'democracy assistance' as a core priority. In January 1993, Ghana inaugurated its Fourth Republic. It was a transition fraught with challenges - which continue to blight the development of a democratic culture. In response, the American Government stepped in with financial and technical support in the hope of helping Ghana to avoid a stall in the county's democratic development. This aid for democratic development has received plenty of criticism with regard to issues such as as conditionalities imposed by America. The current study used a matched-area comparison to examine the effects of aid programmes. The findings show that the USAID-initiated ECSELL and GAIT programmes have increased local-level democratisation in Ghana by strengthening the capacities and abilities of civil society.

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