Entrepreneurship: a means to poverty reduction in rural northern Ghana?

Asitik, Akanganngang Joseph (2016) Entrepreneurship: a means to poverty reduction in rural northern Ghana? Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Poverty has long been a developmental challenge in the Global South in general and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular. Consequently, over recent decades different strategies and programmes such as the Millennium Development Goals have been employed to reduce poverty and to improve the quality of people’s lives. This is very much the case in Ghana, where major strides have towards reducing poverty. Nevertheless, the three northern regions (Northern, Upper East and Upper West) of the country have actually experienced a deteriorating situation with the proportion of people living in poverty increasing. In short, poverty remains an obstacle to development in rural northern Ghana. Significantly, entrepreneurship has been proposed by some as an alternative route to rural poverty alleviation. The purpose of this thesis, therefore, is to examine critically the extent to which communities in rural northern Ghana can become entrepreneurial as a basis for facilitating poverty reduction in the regions. Having contextualised the study within a review of development, poverty and, in particular, entrepreneurship, the thesis explores the entrepreneurial ‘environment’ of rural northern Ghana and the entrepreneurial potential of rural communities in the regions as well as assessing the entrepreneurial human and social capitals possessed by those communities. Overall, this provides a holistic and critical assessment of the opportunities for and barriers to rural entrepreneurship in rural northern Ghana. The study adopts a process of qualitative enquiry, using a multiple-case approach to investigate the problem within broader and distinctive rural locations. Within each case, data were gathered at both district and community levels, employing both focus groups and individual semi-structured interviews. The data collection involved translations and a Translation moderation and mediation process – termed the TMM model – was developed to ensure the quality and rigour of the interview transcripts. The findings from the research conclude that poverty is endemic within the study communities. Nevertheless, it was identified that these communities possess potential human, social, cultural and natural capitals that provide a basis for developing entrepreneurship, as well as opportunities for specific entrepreneurial activities which may contribute to reducing poverty in the communities. However, the research found that limited infrastructure may hinder the entrepreneurial process and, as such, rural entrepreneurship in the communities will be a challenging task. Therefore, for successful rural entrepreneurship in rural northern, infrastructure is a critical issue.

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