How can education improve national leadership? Lessons from Ghana

Higher Education and Developmental Leadership: The Case of Ghana
Amir Jones, Charlotte Jones & Susy Ndaruhutse
March 2014

This new DLP Research Paper highlights the important role that quality education, at both secondary and higher level, has played in the formation of developmental leadership in Ghana.

The research team, from CfBT Education Trust and the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana, examined the educational background of 115 developmental leaders and conducted semi-structured interviews with 27 key leaders. Their findings include the way in which quality education (largely residential in Ghana) has promoted social integration and shared values, and can foster networks on which coalitions for reform are based.

Key findings

- During their education, the leaders gained developmental leadership qualities (including core values, key characteristics and technical skills)

- Education has helped create shared values among the leaders, facilitate social integration and increase social mobility

- Higher education was critical to both the emergence of reform coalitions in Ghana and to their success in bringing about economic, political and media reforms.

To find out more about the paper's findings and implications, see the:

Related items

2016 Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture

Thursday 27th October 2016

The University of Manchester's annual lecture in memory of DLP's founding Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be given this year by Nic van de Walle, Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, on Wednesday, 16 November.

Read more

New findings on education and developmental leadership in the Philippines

Thursday 15th September 2016

New research from DLP and the University of Glasgow explores the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development in the Philippines. See the policy brief, podcast and paper.

Read more

Political settlements and public service performance

Friday 15th April 2016

A conference hosted by the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, in partnership with DLP and the Centre for Public Impact, focused on the impact political settlements have on the efficiency of public services. Many of the presentations are now available online.

Read more

NIMD programme evaluation released

Thursday 3rd December 2015

An inception study led by DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal is part of the newly released evaluation report from the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.

Read more

Leadership for Transformational Change in Africa: new research project

Monday 26th October 2015

A new research project in collaboration with the Uongozi Institute for Leadership for Sustainable Development is exploring developmental leadership in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.

Read more

Collaborative event discussing 'Corruption and development'

Tuesday 7th July 2015

DLP team members David Hudson and Alina Rocha Menocal joined a wide range of speakers at this event in London on 29 June.

Read more

Workshop for Australia Awards scholars

Monday 29th June 2015

DLP's Senior Research Partner Chris Roche and Research Fellow Gillian Fletcher, with their La Trobe colleague Professor Dennis Altman, ran an interactive workshop with more than 275 new and departing Colombo Plan and Australia Awards scholars in Melbourne on 29 June 2015.

Read more

Evidence on parliamentary strengthening

Friday 14th November 2014

Senior DLP Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal will present evidence on parliamentary strengthening to the International Development Committee at Westminster on 18 November with former colleague Tam O'Neil from ODI.

Read more

Informing debate: why higher education matters for the post-2015 agenda

Thursday 11th September 2014

DLP-commissioned research is being fed into the continuing debate on the post-2015 agenda to establish development priorities beyond the Millennium Development Goals.

Read more

Research Fellow vacancies: work with DLP at La Trobe University, Melbourne

Thursday 28th August 2014

Two exciting opportunities have arisen for an accomplished research fellow and senior research fellow to work with DLP at La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change. VACANCIES NOW CLOSED.

Read more

DLP's research hub established at the University of Birmingham

Tuesday 8th April 2014

DLP has begun a new phase of work led by the University of Birmingham, with funding in place until 2017. The new research grant marks a first step towards the consolidation of DLP as a global partnership.

Read more

How can education improve national leadership? Lessons from Ghana

Tuesday 25th March 2014

A new DLP Research Paper highlights the important role of quality secondary and higher education in forming developmental leadership in Ghana.

Read more

New book on social sector policy reform in the Philippines

Tuesday 4th March 2014

'Room For Maneuver' explores the politics of social sector policy reform in the Philippines. The book, co-edited by the late Adrian Leftwich, highlights lessons for reform advocates.

Read more

Adrian Leftwich Memorial Conference

Friday 24th January 2014

We were delighted that over 100 scholars and development practitioners joined us for the Adrian Leftwich Memorial Conference on 24 January. We commemorated DLP's founding Director of Research with a fascinating day of reflection and discussion.

Read more

Political Settlements and State Formation - the case of Somaliland

Wednesday 1st January 2014

Why did the civil wars in Somaliland end while Somalia's continued? This new DLP Research Paper asks why large-scale violence was resolved in the internationally unrecognised 'Republic of Somaliland' but not in the rest of Somalia.

Read more

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013

Friday 6th December 2013

Heather Marquette and David Hudson, DLP's directors of research, reflect on the inspirational achievements of Nelson Mandela - who embodied developmental leadership.

Read more

Review: "Transformative Political Leadership: Making a difference in the developing world" by Robert Rotberg

Tuesday 22nd January 2013

As a recent DLP Research Paper showed, remarkably little serious academic research has been devoted to the role of leadership in the politics of development, though it is commonly referred to in policy documents as an important factor. While there is a substantial literature in the fields of business studies, corporate management and psychology, there remains a significant deficit in relation to development issues, but two important recent academic studies have begun to reduce that deficit. The second, by Robert Rotberg, 'Transformative Political Leadership: Making a difference in the developing world' is reviewed below.

Read more

Different Take on Africa - the importance of leadership

Tuesday 12th June 2012

Following the Joint Statement on the political economy of Africa, agreed by five research groups including DLP, we've been keeping the discussion going through the excellent 'Different take on Africa' blog. Today Adrian Leftwich posted a piece on the blog emphasising the importance of understanding the agential factors that have held back African development: the question of leadership. Specifically, what role leadership can play at "critical junctures in reconstructing coalitions, initiating new political settlements or sustaining old ones"? And the potential for developmental leaderships - in all sectors and levels of society - to mobilise people and resources to overcome the critical collective action problems that typically plague development in Africa.

Read more

'Reform' Coalitions: A New Concept Paper

Wednesday 9th May 2012

'Reform' coalitions have been noted by many authors in a very diverse range of literatures. But what do we know about them? And should we not understand better their role in the politics of development? What are the circumstances of their provenance, and the political conditions and characteristics of successful ones? Can it be demonstrated that such coalitions have contributed directly to growth and poverty reduction? And, if so, can or should donors work politically to facilitate, encourage and promote their emergence and functioning? In this paper Caryn Peiffer identifies some of the common features of these coalitions and suggests some of the important questions that will be explored by further DLP research.

Read more

Coalitions Workshop Sydney 15-16 February 2012

Wednesday 15th February 2012

Despite a potentially huge range of empirical evidence and examples, our understanding of how coalitions are formed, managed and funded, and what makes for successful coalitions remains remarkably limited. The purpose of the workshop is therefore to deepen our understanding of these crucial developmental political processes, to help classify different forms of coalitions, to derive significant policy and programmatic messages, and to formulate guidelines for the international community about how to broker, facilitate and support progressive developmental coalitions across sectors and issue areas. The workshop will draw on the rich experience and thinking of its participants - a mix of distinguished researchers and practitioners from a variety of contexts.

Read more

Education Matters - a new paper from DLP

Tuesday 29th November 2011

Has the international community devoted too little attention to the role of higher education in promoting developmental outcomes? Can higher education make a significant contribution to the emergence of developmental leadership in all sectors of society, both public and private? If so, how? And what is the evidence for this? An earlier DLP paper showed that despite evidence for a clear and positive correlation between higher education and good governance, this is an area that has been largely neglected by the international community in favour of an emphasis on basic or primary education. This new paper by Laura Brannelly, Laura Lewis and Susy Ndaruhutse surveys evidence from a wide literature regarding which aspects of higher education can promote the emergence of developmental leadership.

Read more

New Asia Foundation book on the politics of economic reform in the Philippines

Monday 21st November 2011

The Asia Foundation, supported by USAID and AusAID, today launches an important new book, documenting the politics of some significant economic reforms in the Philippines. Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines is a collection of analytical essays by leading development analysts and some of the participants in each of the reform processes. The book has a foreword by Adrian Leftwich, the Director of Research for the DLP. The theme of the book is the role played by 'developmental entrepreneurs' in the politics of reform and it illustrates through a number of cases how and why difficult battles were fought and, in some cases won, in pursuit of reform.

Read more

Princeton University Program: Innovations for Successful Societies

Thursday 6th October 2011

Policy-makers, researchers and practitioners can learn a great deal about the complexity of the politics of reform from the direct experiences of reform leaderships in developing countries. The Innovations for Successful Societies at Princeton University is building a series of case studies and recordings of interviews with developmental leaders from around the world. This rich source of information will be of great value to those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the role which developmental leaderships and coalitions can play in promoting locally appropriate institutional and policy innovation and reform in the diverse contexts of their own countries.

Read more

11th UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development

Tuesday 13th September 2011

DLP Researcher Laura Brannelly (CfBT) will be presenting the findings of the first phase of DLP's research on Higher Education and Development at the 11th UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development in Oxford between the 13th-15th September. The theme for the conference is "Global Challenges for Education: Economics, Environment & Emergency". The main aim of the conference is to move education to the centre of the debate on global challenges in the 21st Century.

Read more

USAID Global Workshop on Education and Development: From Evidence to Action

Monday 22nd August 2011

DLP Researcher Susy Ndaruhutse (CfBT) was a plenary speaker at this year's "USAID Global Workshop on Education and Development: From Evidence to Action" between the 22nd-25th August in Virginia, USA. The main purpose of the workshop was to demonstrate the strategic importance of education in achieving US government development goals, and to provide critical and cutting edge training and orientation to USAID education and capacity development sector staff and their present and potential partners. Susy Ndaruhutse's session was entitled 'Mobilizing Higher Education for Developmental Leadership'.

Read more

Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen - a presentation to Australian Government departments

Monday 18th July 2011

DLP Researcher, Dr Sarah Phillips from the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, gave a thought-provoking and timely presentation on the 8 June 2011 in AusAID in Canberra, entitled "Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen: Informal Institutions and Agency". Speaking to an audience of AusAID staff and representatives from various government departments including the Departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other guests, Dr Phillips provided a unique insight into the Yemeni regime's opaque internal politics, and the nature of the patronage system entrenched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past 32 years.

Read more

A Report on DLP's first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt

Monday 20th June 2011

There is now wide recognition that political processes - and especially the role of leaderships and coalitions - are fundamental in shaping and sustaining the institutional and policy environment that promotes or frustrates sustainable economic growth and inclusive social development. That being so, what is to be done? What does it mean for development policy and practice? In seeking to address some of these issues, the DLP held its first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt in March, 2011. This paper provides a summary of the key findings, insights and initial guidance arising from the workshop and from recent phases of DLP research.

Read more

Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen

Wednesday 8th June 2011

Dr Sarah Phillips, from the Centre for International Security Studies, Sydney University, presented her work on the crisis in Yemen to an audience of Australian officials from across government, and other interested parties, in AusAID on Wednesday, 8th June. Dr Phillips' presentation looked behind the scenes at the Yemeni regime's opaque internal politics and at the nature of the system entrenched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past 32 years. It also discussed the implications of this for Western counter-terrorism policies in Yemen.

Read more

Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt

Monday 4th April 2011

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) held its first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt on 10th and 11th March, 2011, facilitated by the GIZ. The focus of the DLP is on the role of developmental leaderships and coalitions in the politics of sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development. The purpose of the workshop was to explore and elaborate the policy, programme and operational implications of the recently completed phase of DLP research and to map the way forward for future research, policy and communications activities.

Read more

New Paper: Ethics and integrity in the politics of developmental leadership

Wednesday 9th March 2011

It is often argued (by the World Bank and other development organizations) that integrity and ethical leadership are critical components of good governance. But what is 'ethical leadership'? What is 'developmental integrity'? How is it achieved? And what are the conditions for sustaining it? This new study by Eduard Grebe and Minka Woermann - intended to help policy-makers think clearly about ethics and integrity in relation to developmental issues - develops a conceptual framework for thinking about integrity and leadership in developmental contexts, not only in terms of individual behaviour, but also in terms of institutions.

Read more

A new publication: Higher education and the formation of developmental elites

Monday 21st February 2011

Does higher education have a role in promoting the emergence of developmental leaders and elites? Could higher education play a vital role in producing a pool of people with the capacity and vision to constitute progressive development leadership across sectors? And does higher education contribute to the formation of networks that facilitate the emergence of developmental coalitions? As the first step in a longer program of work to collect the evidence, this research paper surveys the literature on this question and offers a preliminary data analysis.

Read more

A new publication: An analysis of leadership development programmes

Monday 21st February 2011

Do 'leadership development programmes' contribute to positive development outcomes or do they only enhance the careers of their participants? Could they do both and, if so, how? What criteria can donors use in deciding whether and how to support, fund, influence or design such programmes? This paper reviews the evidence about leadership development programmes as a tool for development policy. It argues that donor and recipient organisations need to be much more discriminating when choosing to support or design a programme, and that understanding the 'political' nature of leadership is the key to choosing or designing a good programme.

Read more

The Elephant in the Room: Politics and the Development Problem

Monday 13th December 2010

The Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University hosted a workshop on 13-14 December 2010 entitled "The Elephant in the Room: Politics and the Development Problem".

Read more

Lowy Institute paper on Leadership

Thursday 28th October 2010

A recent study by the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, funded by the DLP, explores the influence which secondary and higher education and scholarships have had on leaderships in Samoa and Timor Leste.

Read more

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

New role for Alina Rocha Menocal

Monday 31st October 2016

After many significant contributions to DLP's research, events and impact, Alina Rocha Menocal is now moving on to take up a USAID Senior Democracy Fellowship. Alina will also continue her role as a Research Fellow in ODI's Politics and Governance Programme, on a part-time basis, and we are delighted that she will retain close links with DLP as a Research Associate.

Read more

2016 Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture

Thursday 27th October 2016

The University of Manchester's annual lecture in memory of DLP's founding Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be given this year by Nic van de Walle, Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, on Wednesday, 16 November.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog