The state and the development of small-scale industry in Ghana since c.1945
Since c.1945, there has been an 'explosion' of small-scale industrial activity in Ghana. This thesis attempts to explain why this has happened. First, developments in small industries during the colonial period are analyzed. Using new sources of data, it is argued that indigenous industries survived this period and were of significant importance by the end of British rule in 1957. Next, changes in the size and sophistication of these industries in the postcolonial period are quantified. It is estimated that, between 1960 and 1984, the number of workers employed in this sector more than doubled. There was also a clear increase in the small industry sector's sophistication. A significant part of the thesis concerns government policy towards small industries since c.1945. Extensive use is made of newly-released archival material, particularly from the Nkrumah years (1951 to 1966). It is argued that, in general, government policies cannot explain Ghana's small industry expansion: although some governments have championed the cause of small industrialists, their small industry development programmes have been relatively small. Also, some government policies actually have prevented small industry growth. Given that the state cannot be accountable for the 'explosion' of small-scale industrial activity, this thesis considers other possible reasons for this phenomenon. This is done by examining previous studies of the small industry sector and using new material from a survey of 40 small-scale industrialists conducted in 1996. It is argued that Ghana's small-scale industrial 'explosion' can be understood as one of the consequences of Ghana's pattern of economic development until the early 1960s, followed by a period of prolonged and rapid economic collapse during the 1970s and early 1980s.