Kwaku Ofosu-Asare, UoA21, SSHL
I decided to do my PhD programme at the University of Westminster because it is one of the leading universities in the UK. It offers a variety of courses to meet the needs of a wider range of students, both local and international. This makes it a good place for students to pursue various careers. My study in political economy at the Department of Politics and International Relations has equipped me not only for academia but also for policy formulation and implementation in various capacities. The various international backgrounds of the students and lecturers and the cultural diversity of the city were of a great benefit and enhanced my network.
The aim of the study was to analyse the impact of the “meso model” on Ghana’s cocoa sector in general and the practices and opportunities for smallholder cocoa farmers in particular. Additionally, Ghana’s efforts to embrace globalisation were examined. The theoretical framework of the thesis was the neo-structuralism paradigm out of which an analytical framework was distilled to assess the impact of the 1993 reforms. The qualitative methodology was mainly used to collect data but some quantitative techniques were also used to enhance the collection and analysis of the data. Ghana was adjudged the “Star Pupil” of Africa by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank after implementing bold economic reforms in 1983 and the cocoa sector reforms in 1993. But ironically Ghana stood up to the IMF and the Bank by refusing to dismantle its cocoa marketing board (COCOBOD) as was recommended by them under the Washington Consensus and instead adopted a ”meso model” of partial liberalisation of the cocoa sector after skilful negotiations.
This thesis makes a significant, original contribution to knowledge in the field of economic development through the following key findings: Firstly, the output of cocoa farmers in general is a function of not only the price paid to them but also the overall environment created for production. Secondly, the “meso model” Ghana adopted challenges the “One Size Fits All” Washington Consensus development model because it increases cocoa farmers’ output and income and enhances Ghana’s cocoa export and foreign revenue, enabling it to attain economic growth and development. Thirdly, the use of mobile phones by cocoa farmers contributes to the reduction in their transport cost and transforms their mode of operations. Finally, Ghana’s efforts to embrace globalisation and to integrate into the global economy have been impressive, albeit urban biased.