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Tracking the Ghana District Assemblies Common Fund

By: Charles Abbey, Vitus A. Azeem, Cuthbert Baba Kuupiel

Over the past few decades, Ghana has received billions of dollars of overseas development assistance to support its economy and development. Currently, close to 40 percent of Ghana’s annual domestic budget comes from external sources. It is becoming imperative for civil society to be actively involved in budget formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation at both the central government and local government levels. The challenge, however, is civil society’s inability to make its voice adequately heard and to hold the authorities and themselves accountable.

To improve development effectiveness and facilitate local participation in budgeting and planning, the central government decentralized power and resources to more than 100 district assemblies (DAs). The District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) was created in 1993 to provide adequate and reliable funds for DAs. The DACF tracking initiative revealed major weaknesses in DACF administration, including delays in allocations and disbursements to DAs, lack of transparency in selection of projects and contract awards, and political and central government interference in the use of the fund.

This chapter discusses how civil society can be empowered to play a critical role in social accountability in Ghana. It focuses on two studies conducted in tracking the DACF and independent budget analysis. It describes the tools that were used in both initiatives, the target audience, the main findings, and the lessons learned.