The Master’s programme in Local Economic Development (LED) is a two year programme comprising: 12 months for course work and six months for research. The programme was established out of a recognized need for a graduate program in which both aspiring and practising economic development professionals could pursue advanced education focused on their field of activity. Ghana’s development agenda is be led by District Assemblies at the local level. Therefore, the programme focuses on local government practitioners in local/regional economic development. Its balance between the theory and the practice of local economic development, it also affords beginners the opportunity to specialise in its broad ranges. The applied dimension of the programme is emphasized in the core seminars by interacting with economic development professionals on a weekly basis and internship.
The LED programme includes a broad range of local development issues including:
- Strategic economic planning
- Environmental impact assessment and sustainability
The role of government in the modern economic system has long been recognized, but the role of decentralized government in fostering growth and development has been questioned. According to regional economists, as far as the allocation of resources is concerned, the benefits of decentralized government are usually unquestioned. Notwithstanding these arguments, researchers dealing with regional economies support the involvement of local government in promoting economic development. They cite market malfunction to justify local economic development policy. This provides the basis for the programme in local economic development. The programme will focus on dealing with local issues within the context of the national macro economic framework. This consideration is based on the assumption that local economists have more and better information to recommend policies to local governments for implementation.
The persistence of problems of slow economic growth and widespread poverty, combined with the changes in the national and international economic environment, and the continuous failure of central government policies to impact positively at the local level have provided a strong urge towards more locally based initiatives . The rationale of this programme therefore, is to build the capacity of students in order to be able to diagnose local economic problems and come out with appropriate strategies and policies which will improve the economic future and the quality of life for local people.
Local Economic development strategies present a number of potential social and economic benefits to Ghana. First of all, they combine an economic and social dimension that is frequently hard to identify in traditional development strategies. Secondly, it seeks to join together the objectives of generating sustainable growth and addressing the needs of the poor in the territories in which it operates. In addition, the fact that local economic development strategies are mainly developed at the local level- means that these strategies can help empower local societies through the use of local resources.
The overall goal of the programme is to prepare students for a career in local/regional economic development. Specific objectives include:
- To equip students with a broad knowledge of theory and research in local and regional economic development;
- To provide for advanced study of business development and sustainable development and their links to community and regional development and the theory and practice of promoting development;
- To provide a research component focused on local needs and critical evaluation.
- To provide the opportunity for practising professionals to participate in graduate studies.
To be considered for admission, applicant must have an honours degree (or equivalent) with at least a ‘second class’ standing preferably in geography, planning, economics, business, or commerce. Degrees in other disciplines could be considered.
The Local Economic Development programme offers a wide range of career opportunities. For instance graduates could work in economic development departments or corporations, pursue careers in the District Assemblies. Others would also want to work to establish new Economic Development operations or to bring new skills to existing operations or community development organizations and private firms. In addition, graduates could work in regional development corporations and special economic development authorities such as CEDECOM and SADA. An alternative to the practicing career is the academic career path.
9.0 Graduation Requirements
- Candidates shall pass all courses and obtain minimum total credits of 43
- Candidates shall report a minimum of 4 weeks of internship duly assessed.
- Candidates shall attend and pass an oral examination on their thesis.
- To pass a course, a student must obtain a minimum of 50% of the marks available and an average of 55% for all courses.
Students are required to undertake internship, workshops and a research dissertation. In addition to these, students will be required to complete six core courses and four electives for the academic year broken into two semesters.