Why national development experts are not included in development policymaking and practice: The case of Ghana

Palash Kamruzzaman*, Emmanuel Kumi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This article contributes to the debate in understanding whether and how the identity of aid workers (e.g. nationality, race etc.) can contribute to inequality within various aid relationships. As ‘decolonising development’ is often employed either as a slogan or genuine goal, it is imperative that the politics of exclusion among/within development experts is critically scrutinised.

This article explores the processes of and the motivations how National Development Experts (NDEs) are frequently excluded in development policymaking and practice in Ghana.

Methods and approach
This article relies on qualitative research methods and draws from semi-structured interviews conducted in two phases in 2017 and 2018 in Ghana. We focus on the narratives of the NDEs in Ghana who are perceived to be well placed to elucidate different mechanics of exclusionary processes and practice.

International Development Experts (IDEs) are able to set agendas and exercise development decision-making power as their governments or organisations provide funding for many development projects. This allows IDEs to influence development policies and practices in a way that eventually excludes the NDEs from development policymaking in Ghana. We also reveal internal competition and power relations between NDEs and local actors (i.e. bureaucrats and politicians) that can also ignore the NDEs from development policymaking processes, a feature that is non-existent in current scholarship.

Policy implications
The exclusion of NDEs in national development decision making processes undermines efforts to promote national ownership. It is important to adopt a holistic approach that just does not focus on one particular aspect (e.g. power inequality among different actors) of exclusionary practice in international development but also looks into local political-cultural settings as well as possible internal competition for resources.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12656
Number of pages24
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • development expertise
  • exclusion
  • Ghana
  • International Development Experts (IDEs)
  • National Development Experts (NDEs)
  • power relations


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