Working Paper
Owning Economic Reforms

A Comparative Study of Ghana and Tanzania

This paper compares reform ownership in Ghana and Tanzania over the past two decades. It finds that on several dimensions, Ghana’s early economic reforms enjoyed a high degree of ownership. That ownership was not embedded, however, in a politico-institutional framework that ensured that ownership would be maintained. Initial efforts to broaden consultation were not maintained and the small economic team was insufficiently widened. The politically more difficult second-generation reforms, the move to multi-party democracy and the exponential increase in aid contributed to a decline in ownership in Ghana. In the case of Tanzania, while initial reform efforts were made without aid, the acrimonious debate with donors that preceded the eventual agreement with the IMF and the socialist ideological heritage strengthened the perception of little ownership. Tanzania’s relatively weak state capacity and weakened policy decision making process have contributed to lower ownership. Most important, however, the high degree of aid dependency and dominance of donors sometimes tends to mask the real attempts the country is making. Tanzania has made interesting innovations in trying to manage its relations with donors. If they are to succeed, state and institutional capacity must be strengthened and donors must give the country some space.