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Dr Franklin Obeng-Odoom

Biography

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is a Senior Lecturer in Property Economics at the School of Built Environment at the University of Technology Sydney. His research interests are located at the intersection of property economics and political economy.

Franklin's doctoral work in political economy was supervised by Frank Stilwell: a well-known public intellectual and, notably, Australia's first full professor of political economy.

He has, in addition, completed studies and research on Georgist philosophy and political economy at the Henry George School of Social Science in Chicago, USA and worked on institutional economics of Richard Theodore Ely at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva, Switzerland.

Franklin's books include Oiling the Urban Economy: Land, Labour, Capital, and the State in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana (Routledge, London) and Reconstructing Urban Economics: Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment (Zed, London). He guest-edited the special issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy on 'Global Economic Inequalities and Development'. Franklin is also the substantive Editor of African Review of Economics and Finance and serves on the editorial boards of Urban Challenge, Forum for Social Economics, and The Extractive Industries and Society.

Franklin's research has generated much academic interest. It has also contributed to inspiring global policy, as shown in uptake in reports by bodies such as the UN, Cities Alliance, and the African Capacity Building Foundation. With its balance, clarity, and quality, Franklin's work is widely used for teaching and instruction at various universities around the world, including Harvard, the London School of Economics, and York.

The recipient of a number of reputable research awards, Franklin was named a Dan David Prize Scholar in April 2010, a World Social Science Fellow in January 2013 and, in June 2015, was elected to the Fellowship of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. In January 2016, Dr. Franklin Obeng-Odoom received the Patrick J. Welch Award from the Association for Social Economics for writing the best article in the Forum for Social Economics in 2015.

More about his work can be found here.

Image of Franklin Obeng-Odoom
Senior Lecturer, School of the Built Environment
Core Member, Asia-Pacific Centre for Complex Real Property Rights
BSc (Hons), KNUST, M.Sc.(London), PhD (Syd)
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 8886
Can supervise: Yes
PhD students are working on social, spatial, and ecological change in Africa and Australasia. 

Books

Obeng-Odoom, F. 2017, Global Economic Inequalities and Development.
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Abdulai, R.T., Obeng-Odoom, F., Ochieng, E. & Maliene, V. 2016, Real Estate, Construction and Economic Development in Emerging Market Economies, Routledge.
economic climate indicator 73–4 economic crises see also crises; financial crises ; global financial crisis 2008–2009: Colombia 266; Latin ... determinants of 217; and economic growth 24; and education 244–5; in emerging markets 108; Real Estate, Construction and Economic Development in Emerging Market Economies examines the relationships between real estate and construction sectors and explores how each sector, and the relationships between them, affect economic development in emerging market economies (EMEs). Throughout the book, the international team of contributors discuss topics as diverse as real estate finance and investment, housing, property development, construction project management, valuation, sustainability and corporate real estate. In doing so the book demonstrates how the relationship between construction and real estate impacts on economic development in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, China, Ghana, Nigeria, Turkey, Lithuania, Hungary and Slovenia. Topics include: the role of real estate brokerage in improving the living standards of citizens; the effect of a mineral boom on construction cycles, real estate values and the socio-economic conditions of people in boom towns and cities; corporate real estate management practices and how they affect economic growth; and the synergies between construction and real estate and how they, in turn, affect economic development.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, Reconstructing Urban Economics: Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment, Zed Books, London, UK.
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Neoclassical economics, the intellectual bedrock of modern capitalism, faces growing criticisms, as many of its key assumptions and policy prescriptions are systematically challenged. Yet, there remains one field of economics where these limitations continue virtually unchallenged: the study of cities and regions in built-environment economics. In this book, Franklin Obeng-Odoom draws on institutional, Georgist, and Marxist economics to clearly but comprehensively show what the key issues are today in thinking about urban economics. In doing so, he demonstrates the widespread tensions and contradictions in the status quo, demonstrating how to reconstruct urban economics in order to create a more just society and environment.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, Oiling the Urban Economy: Land, labour, capital, and the state in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, First, Routledge, London and New York.
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This book presents a critical analysis of the 'resource curse' doctrine and a review of the international evidence on oil and urban development to examine the role of oil on property development and rights in West Africa's new oil metropolis - Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. It seeks answers to the following questions: In what ways did the city come into existence? What changes to property rights are oil prospecting, explorations, and production introducing in the 21st century? How do the effects vary across different social classes and spectrums? To what extent are local and national institutions able to shape, restrain, and constrain trans-national oil-related accumulation and its effects on property in land, property in housing (residential, leisure, and commercial), and property in labour? How do these processes connect with the entire urban system in Ghana? This booknbshows how institutions of varying degrees of power interact to govern land, housing, and labour in the city, and analyses how efficient, sustainable, and equitable the outcomes of these interactions are. It is a comprehensive account of the tensions and contradictions in the main sectors of the urban economy, society, and environment in the booming Oil City and will be of interest to urban economists, development economists, real estate economists, Africanists and urbanists.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development: Lessons from Ghana, First, Routledge, London.
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The world development institutions commonly present 'urban governance' as an antidote to the so-called 'urbanisation of poverty' and 'parasitic urbanism' in Africa. Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development is a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the meaning, nature, and effects of 'urban governance' in theory and in practice, with a focus on Ghana, a country widely regarded as an island of good governance in the sub region. The book illustrates how diverse groups experience urban governance differently and contextualizes how this experience has worsened social differentiation in cities. Contents: Part 1. Understanding Urban Governance and Cities 1. Introduction 2. Understanding, Historicising, and Conceptualising Urban Governance 3. Theoretical Issues in Urban Analysis Part 2. Urban Problems and Policies in Ghana 4. Urban Employment, Growth, Inequality and Poverty 5. Water, Waste, and Health 6. Urban Transport and Mobility 7. Urban Housing 8. Urban Land Part 3: Evaluation and Prospects of Urban Governance 9. Electoral Governance and Multiple Dimensions of Poverty 10. Urban Governance: Selected Experiences in A frica 11. The Last Word

Chapters

Obeng-Odoom, F. 2017, 'Property and Freedom' in Aryeetey, E. & Kanbur, R. (eds), The Economy of Ghana: Sixty Years After Independence, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 28-42.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Sustainable urban development: A Georgist perspective' in Allen, A., Lampis, A. & Swilling, M. (eds), Untamed Urbanisms, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, pp. 191-203.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Oil, construction, and economic development' in Abdulai, R.T., Obeng-Odoom, F., Ochieng, E. & Maliene, V. (eds), Real Estate, Construction and Economic Development in Emerging Market Economies, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 19-36.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Informal real estate brokerage as a socially-embedded market for economic development' in Real Estate, Construction and Economic Development in Emerging Market Economies, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 224-238.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Regeneration for some; degeneration for others' in Leary, M.E. & McCarthy, J. (eds), The Routledge Companion to Urban Regeneration, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 189-198.
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Regeneration is usually posited as a process of driving urban and national economic development in a way that is socially progressive, socially desirable, and socially efficient. This chapter explores and evaluates actually existing urban regeneration in Accra, Ghana, focusing on its nature and outcome; two principal themes largely ignored in the literature regarding Ghana's urban problems and policy. The chapter reveals more complexity than the normative ideal that urban regeneration advocates suggest. It shows that, although regeneration creates employment, 'modernizes' the city, and drives urban and national growth, it creates 'degenerative' outcomes for a large stratum of city dwellers. Therefore, regeneration for some means degeneration for others. The chapter puts the case for a double re-conceptualization of the idea of 'regeneration' to recognize that regeneration can be largely regressive, albeit progressive only for a minority few, including the class of estate developers.

Journal articles

Obeng-Odoom, F. 2017, 'Oil, local content laws, and paternalism: Is economic paternalism better old, new, or democratic?', Forum for Social Economics, pp. 1-26.
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Although paternalism has long been studied, the 'new paternalism' has received relatively little attention, and much less attention in the oil and gas industry where interferences into preferences centre more strongly on the supply, rather than on the demand, side. The 'choice architects' in Ghana have succeeded in nudging local businesses to go into the provision of services for the oil industry and the supply of goods and services needed in the petroleum sector. Yet, the new paternalism in the petroleum industry has had major limitations too, including re-enforcing systemic inequality and labour exploitation, while paying scant attention to the destruction of local content. These problems can only be addressed through systemic redistribution, structural transformation of the economy, comprehensive social protection and deliberate interventions for ecological sustainability. In this process of social change, an embrace of old paternalism will not do neither will asserting a new paternalism as the philosophy behind local content laws and policies. A philosophy and praxis of democratic paternalism provide a surer path for more effective transformation.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2017, 'Unequal access to land and the current migration crisis', Land Use Policy, vol. 62, pp. 159-171.
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How does the crisis of migration relate to unequal access to land? In what ways can unequal access to land help to explain the migration crisis today? And, how does a focus on land differ from and is superior to existing mainstream analyses and hence extend our understanding of the crisis of migration? Based on comments made by Henry George in Social Problems (1883) and a methodology he espoused in The Science of Political Economy (1898), I argue that much of the crisis of migration can be understood as driven or accentuated by the crisis of land, to wit, inequality, poverty, and other social problems arising from unequal access to land. The role of land in the story of migration varies over time and this temporal feature influences the direction or spatial aspect of migration. The argument is not that all forms of migration in all their complexities arise from unequal access to land but that the myriad of social problems and policies driving the mass migration of people cannot be satisfactorily resolved or fully understood without addressing the class-based land question. If so, mere pro-migration policy whether it is of the neoliberal or humanistic hue is not a panacea, especially when the destination settlements have similarly monopolistic land ownership structures. The conservative, nationalist, and nativist stance linked to Garrett Hardin's ideas in the 'tragedy of the commons' (1968) and 'lifeboat ethics: the case against helping the poor' (1974) is worse because erecting borders is another form of monopolising the commons and land and hence is likely to intensify the inequality and social problems that underpin the global migration crisis. Creating equal access to land in both origin and destination settlements, granting social protection to migrants, especially those in work relations, and granting permanent status to migrants,while providing them and locals with excellent public services and enabling them to contribute to the common wealth in the des...
Ojong, N. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2017, 'Resilience and Dynamism of Embedded Financial Transactions inCameroon', Journal of Economic Issues (JEI), vol. LI, no. 1, pp. 181-200.
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Following the recent financial crisis, institutional economists have issued a 'call for institutionalist research on alternative financial systems. While suggestions have been forthcoming, (for example, in volume 48, issue 4 of the Journal of Economic Issues), most have centered on national-level innovations in advanced capitalist countries, prompting further calls for 'community and individual level anti-capitalist financial relations. With this article, we respond to such calls. We show how networks of finance in Cameroon bridge the formal/ informal dualisms in lending/savings activities. We demonstrate that any debates about whether to formalize informal financial institutions or leave them alone weaken in Cameroon because, through networks, people access both formal and informal financial institutions for different purposes and at various stages in the life of these institutions. This dynamism explains why, in spite of the growth of money markets in Cameroon, informal financial institutions have not disappeared, nor declined. In fact, they have expanded, contrary to predictions in existing new institutional economics research. While informal institutions have evolved, they have not necessarily become formal banks, microfinance, or stock markets. Rather, the informal financial institutions have adopted and adapted in terms of both lending and saving practices in a country where growing formal financialization has become the norm. Our findings challenge neoclassical and new institutional economics theories about money, credit, and the actors in the money market.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2017, 'The Wretched of the Earth', Journal of Australian Political Economy, vol. 78, no. Summer, pp. 5-23.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'The State of African Cities 2014', Journal of Asian and African Studies, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 389-397.
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After an unprecedented and notable delay, the State of African Cities Report 2014 has been published. It makes a bold claim for re-imagining urban sustainability in Africa, continuing two earlier attempts at shaping the nature of urban discussion among scholars, students, and practitioners interested in cities located in Africa. A systematic content analysis shows that although, as in previous attempts, the report is a major success in highlighting developments in African cities, this year's attempt is undermined by severe drawbacks, among which are conceptual challenges, a failure to achieve agreement between the report's claims and research findings, and a bias in focus against smaller African countries and their cities. In turn, there are many dark clouds hanging over this otherwise successful report.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Property in the commons: Origins and paradigms', Review of Radical Political Economics, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 9-19.
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This paper reflects on historical debates about creating property in the commons and how the debaters have approached the topic. It does so by systematizing existing insights, especially those provided by Richard Schlatter in his book, Private Property: A History of An Idea (1951). The analysis shows that Hardin's widely quoted paper is not the founding essay that attacked the commons. Also, it demonstrates that there is no 'property rights approach in political economy but several property rights approaches not only between heterodox and orthodox political economy but also within heterodox perspectives. The evidence is clearly that not much has changed in the debates about the commons except, perhaps, the geographical emphasis and the identity of the dramatis personae fanning the attacks on the commons, but not the economic interests supporting the decimation and dissipation of the commons.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Understanding Land Reform in Ghana: A Critical Postcolonial Institutional Approach', Review of Radical Political Economics, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 661-680.
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Land reform has become particularly prominent in development discourse in recent times. Advocates emphasize its importance for poverty reduction in underdeveloped economies. However, how reform comes about and evolves and what it is and does is situated, not universal, as neoclassical economists suggest. This paper sheds light on the meaning, evolution, and outcomes of land reform in Ghana. It draws on historical and contemporary socio-legal and political-economic sources of evidence, analyzed within a critical postcolonial institutional framework. It shows important features of continuity and change in both colonial and postcolonial land reform. While pre-colonial land tenure relations are misrepresented as entailing no market activities, the concerted effort to introduce 'capitalist markets into the land sector to produce 'socially efficient outcomes has led to contradictory results.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'The Meaning, Prospects, and Future of the Commons: Revisiting the Legacies of Elinor Ostrom and Henry George', American Journal of Economics and Sociology, vol. 75, no. 2, pp. 372-414.
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Elinor Ostrom's work on the commons has convinced mainstream economists that 'collective governance of the commons can overcome the 'tragedy of the commons and 'free-rider problems. Yet, a more systematic appraisal of Ostrom's work shows that it contains no concept of justice. Her idea of rights is extremely limited, often tied to the notion of joint, rather than equal, rights. Indeed, for Ostrom, the notion of the commons is socially separatist and not ecological. Ostrom uses historical examples, but without analyzing how common possession historically evolved and was undermined by external forces. Hence her proposed 'collective action to save the commons actually accelerates the real threats to the commons. A strikingly different and more holistic approach to the commons is offered by Henry George, who posits the commons as the most important path to social, economic, and ecological sustainability. Unlike Ostrom, who studied the commons 'scientifically to show that some goods are neither private, public, nor clubbased, George studied the commons to understand and remove injustice at the roots. His approach is more critical and certainly more relevant today in showing that another world is possible. However, George's work, too, requires significant changes to update its framing of the meanings, prospects, and future of the commons.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'oil in the West African Transform Margin: Dangers and Possibilities', International Critical Thought, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 101-118.
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The West African Transform Margin (WATM) is the new centre of oil exploration in Africa. Less is known about its experiences and more work is needed to unearth them. Viewed through the eyes of Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, and Walter Rodney, the available evidence shows not only the persistence of grave limiting dangers about the colonial economic structure in this subregion but also major possibilities about inter- and intra-regional linkages. A strategy of alternative indigenous regional vision that de-emphasises economic growth and stresses autonomy, distribution, and energy sovereignty is shown to be workable, and superior to the status quo. How to make the transition will be challenging but the effort is worth making for by doing so the region will take control and direction of its resources, to plan, to develop, and to manage them, and hence to free itself from the debilitating shackles of the unjust economic order of the world system.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Migration, African Migrants, and the World: Towards a Radical Political Economy', African Identities, vol. 14, no. 4.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'AFRICA:GEOGRAPHIES OF CHANGE: Edited by Richard Grant, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2015. 356 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-992056-3 (paperback).', GROWTH AND CHANGE, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 130-131.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. & Jang, H.S. 2016, 'Labour migration and migrants in urban Ghana', International Development and Cooperation Review, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 107-135.
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The persistent increase in the number of people working or living on the streets in Ghana, and the resulting surge in the government of Ghana's interest in urban streetism necessitate a study of the phenomenon and provide an opportunity to ascertain the recent claim by social economists that the institutional-structuralist approach to migration research is superior to the neoclassical and new economics of labour migration (NELM) approach for which limited empirical research at the urban level has been conducted. Drawing on published ethnographic studies and on a synthesis of other published existing data interpreted within the broad methodology of institutional-structuralism, the paper shows that neither the decision to migrate nor the decision to return is based on individual calculations alone. Similarly, rural poverty does not provide sufficient explanation for rural-urban migration. There are clearly push and pull factors in the process of migration, but these are institutional and structural rather than individual and household based. The experiences of migrants on streets in urban centres are diverse but most of them are underemployed rather than unemployed. Most intend to return to their origins, but whether they do so, when, and how are conditioned by the class of migrants and changing social institutions such as property rights that pertain in both the rural and urban contexts. For these reasons, policies framed around the assumptions in mainstream analysis of labour migration such as removing urban bias and enhancing rural development have merely re-enforced the process of uneven urban and regional development.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Marketising the commons in Africa: the case of Ghana', Review of Social Economy, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 390-419.
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The recent surge in the marketisation of the commons in Africa – especially of water bodies – warrants careful political economic analysis. Three questions remain intractable: (1) Were there markets in the beginning? If so, how have they transformed and if not, how did markets arise and transform over the years? (2) what are the outcomes of such markets for people, their livelihoods, and their environment? And (3) how to interpret the outcomes of water markets and whether water should be commodified at all. For new institutional economists, water markets have arisen because of the inferior nature of Indigenous or customary systems which are incapable of offering precisely what water markets offer Africa: economic and ecological fortunes. Using an institutional political economy approach and drawing on experiences in Ghana, the paper investigates the social history of marketisation of the commons and probes the effects of marketisation in terms of absolute, relative, and differential/congruent outcomes as well as the opportunity cost of the current water property rights regime. The empirical evidence shows that markets have been socially created through imposed and directed policies. Some jobs have been created through investment, but such employment is not unique to marketisation and private investment. Indeed, the private model of property rights has worsened the distribution of water resources not only within different property relations in Africa but also between diverse property relations. Water markets have been responsible for much displacement and trouble not only for communities but also nature. Overall, there is no necessary congruence between the promises made by new institutional economists and how communities experience water markets. Tighter regulations for the use of inland and transboundary water sources might temporarily halt the displacement of communities sparked by marketisation of the commons, but only one fundamental change can guarantee comm...
Obeng-Odoom, F. & Jang, H.S. 2016, 'Immigrants and the transformation of local towns: A study of socio-economic transformation of Lidcombe, Australia', Urbani Izziv, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 132-148.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Urban Governance in Africa Today: Reframing,Experiences, and Lessons', Growth and Change: a journal of urban and regional policy, pp. 1-18.
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Uetela, P. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2016, 'Natural Gas and Socio-Economic Transformation in Mozambique: Some Preliminary Evidence', Journal of Energy and Development, vol. 41, pp. 47-66.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. & Jang, H.S. 2016, 'Migranti in preobrazba sosesk: raziskava družbenogospodarske preobrazbe sydneyjskega predmestja Lidcombe', Urbani Izziv, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 46-62.
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Eden od glavnih razlogov za negativen odnos do migrantov je dejstvo, da obremenijo objekte in infrastrukturo gostiteljske skupnosti, sami pa veliko ne prispevajo h gospodarstvu in družbi države gostiteljice. Ta negativni odnos je močen zlasti v mestih, kjer je pritisk na javne dobrine zgoščen in opaznejši. Zato so migrantske soseske še posebej zaničevane. S tem stereotipnim pogledom se ne ujemajo izkušnje z migranti v okolici pokopališča Rookwood Cemetery v Sydneyju, ki velja za »največjo nekropolo na južni polobli«. V tej migrantski soseski potekajo živahne in raznovrstne dejavnosti (zlasti korejskih) migrantov, ki so za to območje, znano pod imenom Lidcombe, nekaj popolnoma novega. Na podlagi različnih virov, analiziranih z zgodovinsko-strukturnega vidika migracijskih študij, vključno z arhivskimi raziskavami v lokalnih knjižnicah, pogovori z dolgoletnimi prebivalci tega območja in vidno etnografijo, so v članku predstavljeni zgodovina Lidcomba in njegove izkušnje z migranti v 21. stoletju.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Africa: On the rise but to where?', Forum for Social Economics, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 234-250.
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Africa's hitherto negative image is now being rapidly replaced by a new persona: 'Africa on the rise'. Developed mainly from Africa's growth experience, this re-imaging of Africa has generated considerable interest even among Africanists concerned that the continent has often been the target of crisis jokes. Even more notably, the rebranding of Africa has gained traction in corridors of power and centres of finance. For this latter group, however, the narrative signals more than a cultural repackaging. It is about confirming that Africa is ripe and ready to host investment and to open up markets in areas where they did not exist or existed but were not capitalist in form. Either way, however, the 'Africa on the rise' narrative achieves a major political and economic goal. Neglecting ethical questions about sustainable jobs, inequality and ecological crisis, while extolling the virtues of capital accumulation, it extends a particular neoliberal ideology which favours people with market power, not the majority with precarious positions or their relationship with nature.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Sustainable Urban Development in Africa? The Case of Urban Transport in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana', American Behavioral Scientist., vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 424-437.
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This article illustrates how episodes in local and international political economy shape urban transport in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana's oil city, and how resultant dynamics in the global economy make the attainment of sustainable urban development illusory. Investment in road production and maintenance is overwhelmed by the recent rapid increase in the number and use of automobiles in the city. At the same time, official disinterest persists in planning for alternative sustainable forms of transportation. While another scenario is possible, by showing the structural and administrative orientation toward productivist sustainable development ideals and its ecologically destructive consequences, I argue that it is increasingly likely that the Sekondi-Takoradi of the future will come to exhibit the contradictions in the capitalist drive to 'annihilate space through time.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Oil boom, human capital and economic development: Some recent evidence', The Economic and Labour Relations Review, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 100-116.
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This article highlights and assesses orthodox responses to three crucial questions in political economy, namely: the role of human capital in the process of economic development, how this role transforms during a period of resource abundance and what is the place of education in empowering labour to reclaim or transform surplus value. Drawing on recent evidence collected from Ghana, a new and young oil economy, it proposes different responses to all these questions which imply the need to replace the concept of 'human capital' with 'human development' and to move from theoretical to substantivist analysis of oil, education and labour relations.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Understanding Land Grabs in Africa: Insights from Marxist and Georgist Political Economics', Review of Black Political Economy, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 337-354.
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© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.Research on current land grabs in Africa has proliferated. Yet, little work has been done explicitly reflecting on competing frameworks for analysing the phenomenon. This paper engages two contrasting approaches, namely Marxian and Georgist, assesses their relevance, and teases out insights for recent land grab research in Africa. It warns against any attempts at combining the 'best' elements in each approach, but demonstrates how these different perspectives can help re-theorise ongoing research on land grabs, especially in Africa.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Oil, capitalism, and crises', Energy Research & Social Science, vol. 6, pp. 155-160.
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'Before the Industrial Revolution', wrote the energy scientist Harold Schobert, 'society relied on three energy sources: human and animal muscles, firewood, and the energy of wind and water'. 'Since then', Schobert continues, 'there have been three major historical transitions in our use of energy. First came . . .coal. Second was . . .electricity. Petroleum became the dominant global energy source by the end ofthe twentieth century'([1], p. 4). The dominant position of oil under industrial and financial capitalism remains to this day, but the future and role of oil have been the focus of major controversy in contemporary political economic analysis.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'The Social, Spatial, and Economic Roots of Urban Inequality in Africa: Contextualizing Jane Jacobs and Henry George', American Journal of Economics and Sociology, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 550-586.
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Unravelling the social and economic roots of urban inequality in Africa has remained a thorny issue in African political economy. Stripped to its bare essentials, the critical questions are who causes urban inequality, what causes it, and how it is caused? While all different, the questions are interrelated. Answering the 'who causes inequality question requires a related analysis of what and why, and that is connected to the how question. Indeed, the how question has two parts—how inequality is caused and how it can be addressed. Both are connected to the why question and to its resolution. Unfortunately, while studies about urban inequality abound, they tend to hive off one aspect or another of the tripartite questions on inequality and, even worse, they study the three questions separately. This article tries to overcome the existing atomistic and piecemeal approach to the study of urban inequality in Africa by contextualizing the work of Jane Jacobs and Henry George, who took a holistic view of urban inequality. It argues that Jacobsianism and Georgism have much to offer in terms of understanding urban inequality in Africa, but neither analysis goes far enough to be able to serve as a solid foundation for policy. Ultimately, it is in their approach to urban analysis—the emphasis on context, on actual urban problems, inductivism, and some of their mechanisms for change such as George's land tax and cautious abstraction, in that order, along with their combined vision—which I call 'diversity in equality—that can add to the insights of postcolonialism in understanding and transforming urban inequality in Africa.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Africa's development post 2015: A critical defence of postcolonial thinking', Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 37-45.
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Drawing on three postcolonial texts, this essay offers a critical defence of postcolonial thinking in the debate about Africa's development experiences. It argues that this approach is fundamental in appreciating, analysing, and transforming the post 2015 development agenda, especially if it is revised to take neoliberalism more seriously than simply regarding it as 'neocolonialism'.
Owusu-Ofori, B. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'The ravages of resettlement: A Ghanaian case study', Social Change, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 234-241.
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Tensions characterise life in a resettlement community in Ghana, over 40 years after it was formed. Media reports trace the problem to a 30-acre parcel of land. However, interviews with ordinary people and opinion leaders in the community and officials who played key roles in planning the resettlement scheme reveal that the land conflict is only one part of the problem. More structural and institutional problems exist as the key drivers of poverty and unrest in this resettlement town. From this perspective, some mitigating policies are suggested.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'A 'Little Fuel' for an African-Australian relationship?', Journal of Economic Issues (JEI), vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 631-637.
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Much of critical social science today argues that the oil crisis must be resolved by getting away from it: Alternative energy is the only answer to peak oil. Yet, recent massive and continuing oil discoveries in Africa have been offered as a potential stop-gap measure simultaneously to improve socio-economic conditions and enhance energy security on that continent, as well as to bridge global income inequalities, while supporting the energy needs of richer countries, especially at a time of continuing disquiet in the major oil producing centers in the world. Memories of plunder of African resources, formed by years of 'resource curse, however, erect dark clouds over the possibility of using oil to achieve the seemingly irreconcilable aims of oil benefit to both Africa and the rest. Australia finds itself at these crossroads: It has a looming oil crisis and an emergent relationship with Africa. In this paper, I argue for a non-determinist, research-led approach to resolve this imbroglio.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Review of 'Resource Curse or Cure? On the Sustainability of Development in Western Australia'', Economic Record, vol. 91, no. 292, pp. 125-126.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Global political economy and frontier economies in Africa: Implications from the oil and gas industry in Ghana', Energy Research and Social Science, vol. 10, no. November, pp. 41-56.
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This review highlights what has been learnt from research on West Africa's oil economy, Ghana and what remains to be studied. The existing knowledge about the industry is both analytical (entailing different frames of thinking, such as enclave and linkages approaches) and empirical (including in what ways is the oil resource a blessing, a curse, or both and to what extent regulations can attenuate or accentuate undesirable outcomes). The existing research shows that to probe whether there is a resource curse/blessing is to ask the question the wrong way. Instead, it is more useful to ask in what ways the oil and gas industry in Ghana driven by a fear of resource curse moulds and is moulded by institutions and aspirations. The tendency has been to emphasise the need for more economic growth and avoid state corruption. Steeped in mainstream economic management, the interest is in bolstering growth-enhancing processes, such as attenuating currency instability and expending limited revenue on social development as a right because such social expenditure is 'unsustainable'. While this emphasis can achieve the important goal of stabilising the economy, it totally ignores or superficially considers the more complex ramifications of oil and gas extraction, namely the growing sphere of influence of transnational oil companies some of which have become key actors in planning, inequalities across space in terms of income and productive resources, exploitation of women, especially, and labour more generally, and ecological pillage. When the policy focal lenses are changed to emphasise these other ramifications, both the implications for and possibilities to use oil resources for social development become more clearly evident and the need to re-theorise the ramifications of oil ever more pressing. In spite of this contribution to the global energy debate, the existing body of knowledge in Ghana is weak in the sense that it lacks a careful theorisation of oil as part of the bi...
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Richard T. Ely's Critique of Capitalism', JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC ISSUES, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 887-890.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Street children in cities in Ghana: an insider account', City, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 879-881.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2015, 'Oil, democracy, and development in Africa', Review of African Political Economy, vol. 42, no. 146, pp. 681-682.
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Temporal analysis is often missing in the discourse on the 'resource curse', but in Oil, democracy, and development in Africa, the American political scientist J. R. Heilbrunn applies it to oil production and export in Africa. The book argues that the effects of oil in Africa are dependent on (a) the nature of institutions at the time of the discovery; (b) the phase of oil production and whether the exporting country is emerging, mature, or declining; and (c) colonial legacy, how it moulds the nature of the institutions in Africa, and how such institutions experience oil. So, according to Heilbrunn, the 'resource curse' analysis does not apply in Africa.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Why write book reviews', Australian Universities' Review, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 78-82.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Black gold in Ghana: crude days for fishers and farmers?', Local Environment, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 259-282.
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The relationship between the exploration, production, and development of black gold, the local economy, and the local environment and how that, in turn, relates to the social and labour conditions of food and fish producers is relatively understudied. Orthodox economists typically use the notion of 'resource curse' which, being a macroeconomic frame, does not provide for variegated, simultaneous, and complex processes of accumulation, contradictions, and displacement at the local level. This paper examines such processes in the Western Region of Ghana, an oil frontier in Africa. It uses multiple data sources such as surveys and analyses the evidence within Harveys framework of 'accumulation by dispossession'. While there seem to be no clear evidence of massive pollution and hence dispossession of the populations living off the land and the sea in the oil 'zone', there are tell tales about crude days ahead, related to enclosures and expropriation. Institutional strengthening may help to resolve the impending tensions, but such reform is incapable of addressing systemic problems of growing imbalance in the power relations among the players in the oil industry.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Green neoliberalism: Recycling and sustainable urban development in Sekondi-Takoradi', Habitat International, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 129-134.
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Sustainable development has been embraced by neoliberalism in the form of marketising the environment in a `green way. While political economists have considered this movement in terms of the emissions trading scheme and other price based mechanisms posited as solutions to global environmental crises, the particular nature of such discourses at the urban level in Africa is not well understood. Using primary data from Sekondi-Takoradi, a mid-size city in West Africa, this paper demonstrates the origin, nature, problems and contradictions in this form of green neoliberalism. It argues that the tenets and approaches of sustainable urban development are fundamentally inconsistent with green metropolitan neoliberalism. In turn, it is highly unlikely that, recycling, a medium of `marketising the environment to save it, can provide a sustainable solution to the plastic waste glut, engendered by the private provision of urban water.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Urban land policies in Ghana: A case of the emperor's new clothes?', The Review of Black Political Economy, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 119-143.
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The paper examines evidence on the reasons for inefficient land management in Ghana. It argues that the perceived custodians of land have consistently acted in their individual interest while successfully using a discourse of 'communal' to secure the backing of the colonial and post colonial state. Overall, the state has substantially promoted the interest of private capital. In turn, the 'public good' outcomes the current land policies ostensibly seek to achieve have only been modestly achieved. Instead, land policies have had perverse implications for weaker groups such as women and impacted cities negatively.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Sex, oil, and temporary migration: The case of Vienna City, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana', The Extractive Industries and Society, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 69-74.
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Does the presence of temporary sex migrants trailing a resource boom cause crime, lead to a breakdown of morality, trigger a crisis of sexually transmitted diseases, and depress property values? While popular representations suggest that the answer to each of these questions is an emphatic 'yes', and hence the 'right to the city' of sex workers should be revoked, preliminary primary data unobtrusively and indirectly collected from sex workers trailing a resource boom in a West African port city suggest that the posited direct connection between prostitution and socio-economic 'bads' is not always definitive. Further research is required to probe popular characterisations of temporary sex migrants, the effect of sex work on resource-rich cities, and how they vary at different stages of the oil industry. For now, however, the evidence suggests that there is the need for alternative urbanism that recognises sex workers' 'right to the city' in ways that can make the state use its powers to support rather than exclude such minority groups.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Urban property taxation, revenue generation and redistribution in a frontier oil city', Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 58-64.
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Calls for the institution of fiscal regulations in Africa abound. At the urban level, they hinge on well-known contentions that taxes generate substantial local government revenue for infrastructural development and tend to curtail the problem of 'unearned income'. Based on empirical evidence from Sekondi-Takoradi, an oil city in Ghana, this paper shows that the nature of regulation, especially the exceptions, broader economic systems of how land is held, and social institutions can constrain successful implementation of taxation. Thus, the argument of advocates of land taxation ought to be revised: the efficacy of taxation is obvious, but contingent rather than assured.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Measuring What? "Success" and "Failure'' in Ghana's Oil Industry', SOCIETY & NATURAL RESOURCES, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 656-670.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Review of 'Governance of the Petroleum Sector in an Emerging Developing Economy'', GOVERNANCE-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POLICY ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 368-371.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. & Sheehan, J. 2014, 'Climate impacted litoral phenomena and customary property rights', Geography Research Forum, vol. 34, no. December, pp. 74-91.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. & Ameyaw, S. 2014, 'A new informal economy in Africa: Case study of Ghana', African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 10-20.
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This paper reveals a new informal economy in Ghana, Africa – the 'in formal informal economy' – where the actors are highly educated and skilled, and neither migrants nor 'dropouts' from the formal sector. Cast in the same setting where the concept of the informal economy was born, this paper shows that there are informalisation dynamics and moments within the process of professionalisation. This informal economy is not only different from existing informal economies, it is also differentiated internally and externally – differentiated relative to existing informal economies and differentiated regarding its own sub-sectors. The paper shows that in addition to the cohort of informal workers who fail to get formal jobs because they are not qualified, there is a cohort of informal workers who fail to get formal jobs even though they are qualified. As a result, there is a segment of temporary informal workers who are educated and certified in a queue for formal jobs, but who are unlikely to obtain them because the 'solution' to their condition is simultaneously the cause of their experience.
Obeng-Odoom, F., Elhadary, Y.A. & Jang, H.S. 2014, 'Living behind the wall and socio-economic implications for those outside the wall: Gated communities in Malaysia and Ghana', Journal of Asian and African Studies, vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 544-558.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2014, 'Black gold in Ghana: crude days for fishers and farmers?', Local Environment, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 259-282.
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The relationship between the exploration, production, and development of black gold, the local economy, and the local environment and how that, in turn, relates to the social and labour conditions of food and fish producers is relatively understudied. Orthodox economists typically use the notion of "resource curse" which, being a macroeconomic frame, does not provide for variegated, simultaneous, and complex processes of accumulation, contradictions, and displacement at the local level. This paper examines such processes in the Western Region of Ghana, an oil frontier in Africa. It uses multiple data sources such as surveys and analyses the evidence within Harvey's framework of "accumulation by dispossession". While there seem to be no clear evidence of massive pollution and hence dispossession of the populations living off the land and the sea in the oil "zone", there are tell tales about crude days ahead, related to enclosures and expropriation. Institutional strengthening may help to resolve the impending tensions, but such reform is incapable of addressing systemic problems of growing imbalance in the power relations among the players in the oil industry. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'The nature of ideology in Ghana's 2012 election', Journal of African Elections, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 75-95.
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The nature of ideology in Ghana's 2012 elections has not been studied, but to do so is key to understanding social, economic and political developments in the country. This article tries to fill the gap. Theoretical guidance is taken from Giovanni Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century (1994). While the analysis is cast in the longue durée, the empirical evidence is mostly extracted from the 2012 elections. Contrary to earlier findings that ideology plays no part in Ghanaian politics, it is argued that it was central, to the campaign at least, but that the position is one of common economic liberalism rather than multiple ideologies. So, while rhetorically the parties asserted their differences, substantially and substantively, aspiration rather than ascription was the common unifying logic of the two major political parties. This assessment has some positive but mostly very disturbing implications for the distribution of wealth.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, ''Managing Land for the Common Good? Evidence from a community development project in Agona, Ghana'', Journal of Pro-Poor Growth, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 29-46.
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The common and dominant view that customary land tenure systems in Africa are inefficient because they forbid individuation, are not registered, are insecure, discourage access to credit, and provide incentive for free rider problems is examined through a case study of one community in Ghana, West Africa. A ninety-day field study in the case study area explored the extent to which the land tenure system has supported a community-based housing project and how that, in turn, has shaped or constrained infrastructural and socio-economic and political development. The paper reveals that communal ownership in the case study area deviates from the orthodox description of land tenure systems in Africa and escapes the problems associated with the so-called `tragedy of the commons. Abuse by both the corporation and corporators is possible and probable, but not because of custom. Growing processes of modernisation, commodification, and secularisation will undermine this system
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'The mystery of capital or the mystification of capital?', Review of Social Economy, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 427-442.
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In contemporary political economic analyses of development processes, Hernando De Soto's The Mystery of Capital, has been one of the most discussed, albeit controversial, books. Although well received by global development agencies such as the World Bank, a key exponent of De Soto's work, positing that the creation and institutionalisation of individual property in housing and land revives 'dead capital' and creates the conditions that will enable the poor to emerge from abject poverty, has been widely criticised. These criticisms show that (1) the thesis is flawed, (2) the flaw is due to implementational problems and (3) the practical implications arising from the thesis are largely neutral and will neither improve nor worsen poverty. Although agreeing with the first criticism, this paper argues that the second critique must be nuanced, and the third is entirely mistaken. Utilising insights from Joseph Schumpeter, Karl Polanyi and Henry George, it makes the case that applying De Soto's ideas through policy would be ineffective in curbing urban poverty, and actually serve to simultaneously entrench and augment it. Moreover, while finding that De Soto's assumption that the poor possess some economic agency is sound and may, indeed, secure socially beneficial outcomes through pursuing innovative and entrepreneurial endeavours, De Soto's conception of such processes remains largely emasculated from broader political economic considerations.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'The State of African Cities 2010: Governance, inequality and urban land markets', Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, vol. 31, no. April, pp. 425-429.
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The State of African Cities report is already in its second year. However, no major assessment has as yet been undertaken of the report. The present assessment highlights the key findings of the report, explores major themes, and provides a critical evaluation of the claims contained in the report. It argues that, while on face value the report makes grand 'revolutionary' claims, the core analyses and recommendations are less radical. In turn, the report ignores important political economic concerns that underpin the complex web of contradictions that it seeks to untangle.
Gyampo, R. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Youth Participation in local and national development in Ghana,1620-2013', Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 5, no. 9, pp. 129-150.
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While there has been a long tradition in development studies on analyzing types of participation and their effectiveness, the idea that participation is not stationary, but that it can evolve with variegated experiences is relatively unexplored. This paper takes up the challenge of showing how participation in development planning can change, the role of underlying institutions, and the implications of evolutionary participatory development for policy making. It uses a critical postcolonial approach and focus on the role of the youth in development planning in Ghana. It knits together the diverse processes and dynamics of youth participation in postcolonial Ghana since the pre-colonial era, and teases out implications of these `participation moments, particularly, current moments, for national development in Ghana.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Windfalls, wipeouts, and local economic development: A study of an emerging oil city in West Africa', Local Economy, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 1-15.
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Analysis of the political economy of oil tends to be under the rubric of 'resource curse' to the neglect of the broader problematique of the distribution of windfalls and wipeouts, the mediating role of institutions, and broader issues of local economic development. This article tries to fill this lacuna by focusing on the experiences of Sekondi-Takoradi, an oil city located in Ghana. Using the principles of eminent domain and decentralisation as analytical framework, it shows `who gets what' in an oil city; demonstrates why different levels of compensation and betterment ought to be paid and received; and reveals the role and struggles of the local State in trying to ensure harmonious local economic development.
Elhadary, Y.A., Samat, N. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Development at the Peri-Urban Area and Its Impact on Agricultural Activities: An Example from the Seberang Perai Region, Penang State, Malaysia', Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, vol. 37, no. 7, pp. 834-856.
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Urban areas are expanding into the countryside, changing the rural landscape and lifestyle of rural communities, and forming an urban-rural interface at these peri-urban areas. New develop- ments brought about by urbanization have important implications for the livelihoods and socioeconomic conditions of local commu- nities. At the peri-urban area, the future of agriculture, farmland, and farmers, especially in the face of massive urbanization, has become a topic of increasing global debate. Concerns have been polarized between two camps: a pessimistic view that peri-urban agriculture is in danger and an optimistic view that, despite the challenges, agriculture is still in practice and in some cases even growing. Several studies have addressed the current trajectories of agriculture in peri-urban areas; however, most of these stud- ies were undertaken in Western nations. In the context of Asian countries, like Malaysia, agricultural adaptation and persistence at peri-urban areas have not been examined. It has been taken for granted that urbanization always leads to the abandonment of agricultural land. The role of urbanization in generating alter- native agricultural enterprises that benefit from nearby urban markets has largely been ignored. This article aims to investigate the challenges and opportunities generated by urbanization and recent developments that have taken place in Malaysia. Using the Seberang Perai region of Penang State as a case study, our analysis reveals that farmers have adopted a range of strategies that could be explained using both positive and negative adaptation of Johnston and Bryants (1987) model. This study moves forward the litera- ture on the future of agriculture in peri-urban areas, particularly in developing countries.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Africa's Failed Economic Development Trajectory: A Critique', African Review of Economics and Finance, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 151-175.
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Crisis narratives and populist representations of the woes of Africa abound. Civil society organisations do not always help, as their activities continue to sustain a particularly negative image of Africa. `Revisionists have tried to counter this state of affairs by providing `success stories about Africa. Thus, the literature on the state of affairs in Africa is reduced to a bifurcation of `failure and `success without resolving the fundamental question of whether there is something wrong with economic development in Africa. This paper tries to move that state of knowledge forward by providing a systematic analysis of what development analysts and practitioners mean by `economic development, while exploring how adequate are the indices for measuring the idea. Framing the question in those terms reveals a complex ensemble of findings among which are the contested nature of economic development, its indicators, and predictions findings which have substantial implications for judging whether there is something wrong with economic development in Africa.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Resource curse or blessing in Africa's oil cities? Empirical evidence from Sekondi-Takoradi, West Africa', City, Culture and Society, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 229-240.
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Africa continues to be the source of a significant amount of oil, but the debate about the role of oil extraction in the process of economic development on the continent remains unsettled both theoretically and empirically. Based on urban level data obtained from Sekondi-Takoradi in West Africa, this paper calls into question the terms of the debate. It demonstrates that the oil city is not monolithically blessed or cursed, but it is a contested arena where curses and blessings co-exist and are distributed along class lines. Indeed, to the extent that they can be so classified, `blessings' or `curses' are social constructs, shaped and defined by power relations and institutions.
Obeng-Odoom, F. & Stilwell, F. 2013, 'Security of Tenure in International Development Discourse', International Development Planning Review, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 315-333.
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The global campaign for secure land tenure is being championed by the international development community through the world development agencies which advocate a particular interpretation of `security of tenure. Yet, this article shows that there are many meanings of secure tenure and multiple ways of ensuring that tenure is secure. It suggests that, by ignoring other legal, economic and social interpretations and mechanisms for enhancing security of tenure, and advocating one reductionist view, the world development agencies may be reinforcing other forms of deprivation. Researchers and policymakers need to maintain a more critical perspective on the particular understanding of security of land tenure adopted by the world development agencies.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development: reflections', Urbani Izziv (Urban Challenge), vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 156-158.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Underwriting food security the urban way: Lessons from African countries', Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, vol. 37, no. 5, pp. 614-628.
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Neoliberal dominant discourses in the food security debate privilege large-scale investment in land in Africa over all others as the continents only hope for food security. However, data from living standards and demographic health surveys, and studies of poverty trends in various African countries show that urban agriculturetypically carried out on small parcels of land in urban areas using urban resourcescontributes substantially to a) food production and b) farmers incomes and livelihoods. On this basis, this article argues that urban agriculture empowers rather than limits. However, this article contends that for urban agriculture to realize its full potential of being a motor to power food security in cities in Africa, it must be understood and be considered as part of a broader socioeconomic and political reality. In turn, factors such as food safety, access, and distribution ought to be given careful attention by advocates of urban agriculture.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'The grab of the world's land and water resources', Revista de economia política : Brazilian journal of political economy, vol. 33, no. 3 (132), pp. 527-537.
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In this paper, I review recent developments in global political economy and political economy of development that have captured inter alia the attention of agrar- ian political economists. I do so through the periscope of two recent publications by Fred Pearce, Great Britains leading eco journalist and an edited volume by Tony Allan, Martin Keulertz, Suvi Sojamo and Jeroen Warner, scholars trained in different disciplines and based at various universities in the UK, the Netherlands, and Finland. The account of the pace, places, and perpetrators, procedures, and problems of this particular agrarian model provides fodder for the further development of a locus classicus on what is happening to the land question in this current moment under the capitalist order, a shorthand for which is `water and land grab.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Do African cities have markets for plastics or plastics for markets?', Review Of African Political Economy, vol. 40, no. 137, pp. 466-474.
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We live in the `plastic age (Moore 2008). Unlike the 1940s when, after the Second World War, plastics were for the first time becoming a part of human society, the human environment is now characterised by plastics (Griffith 2010). The amount of plastic waste generated has also increased considerably. In turn, plastic waste has gained considerable attention among academics, policy-makers and civil society organisations. According to Astrup (2011), the advent of climate change has further increased the interest in plastic waste. Yet, there are huge gaps in the state of knowledge about causes of the explosion in plastic waste. The existing research focuses on how best it can be managed (e.g., Chan, Sinha and Wang 2011), and tends to take for granted causes, especially those linked to underlying economic systems. The provision of technical solutions and analysis (e.g., Tsuchida et al. 2011) by scientists dominate discussions of plastic waste and the tendency is to leave political economic concerns aside. In the words of Navia and Heipieper (2011, 564): Waste Management & Research serves as a forum for exchanging research expertise and scientific ideas supporting the development and application of novel biotechnological processes used in industrial waste management. In doing so, Waste Management & Research will particularly focus on biotechnological processes with lower energy demand, increased performance and shorter processing times with simultaneous achievement of the quality standards needed for final waste management.
Ozkul, D. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Temporary Migration in Africa: Views from the Global South', African Review of Economics and Finance, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1-6.
Politicians in the Global North frequently warn their populations of threats of possible migration flows from Africa. The general argument goes like this: if border security measures were relaxed, migrants from Global Southern countries would flood Northern countries, would stay there permanently, and would cause social and economic problems for the rest of the society. This view has been pervasive since the 1950s and 60s and led the Northern countries to sign bilateral `guest worker' agreements with various countries in the Global South. To prevent these temporary migrants from becoming permanent residents, the receiving countries have typically instituted top-down measures enforced strictly, if not ruthlessly. Even then, these measures have not always worked and some `temporary' migrants ultimately became `permanent residents (see Castles, 2004 for an analysis of why migration policies fail). With the failure of temporary migration programmes, Northern countries started developing new concepts. Today, `temporary migration' refers to a much wider issue than in past bilateral agreements. It includes both project-tied skilled and unskilled workers migration. Such migrants can be one or multiple times entrants in destination countries. The latter is called `circular migration in which usually migrants move back and forth between countries of origin and destination according to market demands in both places (see Wickramasekara, 2011 for an extensive overview of such programmes). Alongside the temporary migration phenomenon, emerged `transit' and `irregular' migration. Whether in the academic literature or in policy circles, these constructs remain unclear, leading to questions such as how exactly is circular migration different from temporary migration; is it any better or is it just a nicer name for old temporary `guest worker programmes (Castles and Ozkul, 2013)?
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Review of 'Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa'', REVIEW OF RADICAL POLITICAL ECONOMICS, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 419-421.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'Review of 'Combating malnutrition in Ethiopia: an evidence-based approach for sustained results'', AGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 145-146.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2013, 'The grab of the world's land and water resources', Revista de Economia Politica, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 527-537.
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In this paper, I review recent developments in global political economy and political economy of development that have captured inter alia the attention of agrarian political economists. I do so through the periscope of two recent publications by Fred Pearce, Great Britain's leading eco journalist and an edited volume by Tony Allan, Martin Keulertz, Suvi Sojamo and Jeroen Warner, scholars trained in different disciplines and based at various universities in the UK, the Netherlands, and Finland. The account of the pace, places, and perpetrators, procedures, and problems of this particular agrarian model provides fodder for the further development of a locus classicus on what is happening to the land question in this current moment under the capitalist order, a shorthand for which is 'water and land grab'.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Review article: Cities and Economic Development', Urban Studies, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 219-224.
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The urban age is here with us. With this transition have come increasing concerns with problems of economic development in cities. The effectiveness of the physical planning approach is being questioned. There is an increasing concern for broader socioeconomic analysis of cities. Yet, only few urbanists specialise in the urban economy. Economic development is an area where economists have long had the biggest say. However, most of their writing is general and does not reflect the peculiar characteristics of the urban economy. Much could be learnt, however, by reflecting on the work of economists, while keeping the urban economy in mind. This short essay attempts this task. It does so by reviewing the work of Paul Collier (2008), the UN-HABITAT (2008) and Joan Robinson (2009). First, it looks at the notion of economic development. Next, it considers some of its determinants. Then, it explores the drivers and forces of urban economic development.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, ''Neoliberalism and the urban economy in Ghana: Urban employment, inequality, and poverty'', Growth and Change: A Journal of Regional and Urban Policy, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 85-109.
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Ghana is one of a few African countries where more people now reside in cities than in the countryside. What is not as well-known are the changes that have taken place in the economic base of Ghanaian cities. This paper tells that story. It focuses particularly on jobs, incomes, inequality, and poverty, and their characteristics in an era when neoliberal policies have been implemented. It draws on census reports, national surveys, and published reports in order to overcome the dearth of information about the urban and national economies. The paper shows that, on the one hand, the increasing prominence of the private sector in the urban economy has impacted positively on capital formation and job creation. On the other hand, urban and national inequality levels have dramatically increased. Whether these changes are favourable to the majority of urban citizens is contestable.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Problematising the Resource Curse Thesis', Development and Society, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 1-30.
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The natural resource curse thesis is that the blessing/windfall of 'nature's gifts' tends to be a curse. The mention of 'oil', especially in developing countries, evokes two types of feelings in the form of excitement and fear, further resulting in a discourse about turning a 'resource curse' into a 'resource blessing'. This paper questions this binary representation of the political economy of oil. Using data triangulation, I will show that curses and blessings co-exist, intermingle, and impact diversely on different social groups. Further, there are many forms of impact in between the two which are neither curses nor blessings. This evidence suggests there is room for practical steps to remedy specific weaknesses in existing public policy beyond euphoric reactions and propositions that strike a determinist relationship between resource boom and curse.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Book Review: Envisioning Real Utopias, by Erik Olin Wright', Capital and Class, vol. -, no. 36, pp. 185-187.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Health, wealth and poverty in developing countries: Beyond the State, market, and civil society', Health Sociology Review, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 156-164.
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Poor health and disease and the nature of interventions to ameliorate them typically generate opportunities and costs. What diseases are prevalent, which interventions are favoured and what factors fuel the nature of health interventions are recurrent concerns for political economists. This paper examines the prevailing viewpoints about what health policy works and what does not. Drawing on evidence from developing countries, it shows that there are many defi ciencies in the prevailing orthodoxy which emphasises state, market, and civil society solutions. The paper suggests that health policy debate must be reframed around poverty and social inequality, constructs which are often subordinated to attaining grand ideological goals.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Far away from home: the housing question and international students in Australia', Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 201-216.
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It has become commonplace for scholars and education managers to talk of the globalisation of higher education. How to provide housing for the growing numbers of international students, however, remains contentious. This paper presents the situation in Australia by analysing the results of two large surveys and official reports published by student associations, housing authorities, the University of Sydney, and the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. It shows that the authorities have not succeeded in providing an answer to the international student housing question. In turn, accommodation remains a difficult issue for most international students and threatens to undermine the quality of higher education. Understood only as an accommodation problem, it may be argued that the situation could be improved if more affordable student housing was provided. However, this paper argues that until the problem is framed in socio-economic terms and analysed from a broad perspective, a solution will remain elusive.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'On the origin, meaning, and evaluation of urban governance', Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift- Norwegian Journal of Geography, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 204-212.
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The article shows that although a large literature has been produced on the concept of urban governance, its meaning remains ambiguous. The aim of the article is not to 'prove' that there is confusion in the concept or to rectify that confusion, but rather to consolidate, categorise, and synthesise the many meanings of urban governance. The article argues that when the concept of 'urban governance' is regarded as a cluster of meanings, particularly as decentralisation, entrepreneurialism, and democratisation (DED) and repositioned in a broad political-economic and socio-cultural framework, its full tenor can be grasped for future research.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Beyond access to water', Development in Practice, vol. 22, no. 8, pp. 1135-1146.
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This paper looks beyond the dominant view of access to water - defined as coverage. It shows that, while the spread of improved water sources has widened, problems of affordability, quality, distribution, and reliability ("deep access") are pervasive. In turn, it argues that declarations about water in international development discourse such as "access to water has increased" can be misleading. Development in practice must look beyond "wide" to "deep" meanings of access to water.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Political economic origins of Sekondi-Takoradi, West Africa's new oil city', Urbani Izziv (Urban Challenge), vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 121-130.
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The origins, growth and trajectory of Sekondi-Takoradi, West Africa's newest oil city, are considered by using an "institutional-analytical" method of economic history. Particular attention is given to the role of ports, harbours and railways, and how they evolved and interacted with political economic institutions in the last 100 years. This omnibus historical analysis suggests that West Africa's newest oil city has come full circle. Its contemporary stature in national and international circles has a historical parallel in the 1920s when, as now, it captured national, regional and international attention. The evidence suggests that contemporary narratives that strike a determinist relationship between resource boom and social doom need to be reconsidered.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Natural resource abundance and eminemt domain: A case study from Africa', Local Economy, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 319-325.
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This Viewpoint article draws on the doctrine of eminent domain (or compulsory purchase) as an analytical framework to analyse the regional and local impacts of a new source of oil. Sekondi- Takoradi, an oil city located in Ghana, West Africa, is used as a case study to explore the differ- entiated experiences of local people. The article shows that, although there are complex distributional issues that require different levels of compensation and betterment to be assessed and paid for, it is unlikely that they will, in fact, even be considered.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'The Ghana House Trust in Australia: An Innovation by migrants?', Global Built Environment Review, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 37-44.
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This research essay describes the history, objectives, and nature of the Ghana House Trust, a project run by Ghanaian migrants in Sydney, Australia. It also presents a preliminary commentary on the achievements and weaknesses of the project. On balance, it seems the project has considerable potential, although it faces structural challenges. The essay presents some thoughts on how to improve the effectiveness of the project and raises issues for further research.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Good property valuation in emerging real estate markets? Evidence from Ghana', Surveying and Built Environment, vol. 22, no. Nov, pp. 37-60.
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Traditional valuation methods were designed with developed real estate markets in mind. Within that paradigm, the Cost Approach to property valuation is the method of last resort for surveyors, the exception rather than the rule. However, in countries such as Ghana where cultural practices, special relationships and administrative bottlenecks constitute structural impediments to the use of more 'progressive' valuation methods, surveyors rely on the Cost Approach (with some modifications) as the method of choice.
ElHadary, Y.A. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Conventions, Changes, and Contradictions in Land Governance in Africa: The Story of Land Grabbing in North Sudan and Ghana', Africa Today, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 58-78.
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Land-tenure systems in Africa are undergoing directed transformation widely believed to promote secure tenure, increase access to credit, and reduce poverty levels. Critics claim that the process is mainly designed to benefit transnational corporations that grab land from local people and convert it from farmland to investment land. Using North Sudan and Ghana as case-study areas and drawing on multiple sources of evidence, including official policy documents, land acts, and existing court cases, this paper examines the nature of land tenurial systems, explores their changing character, and identifies the tensions and contradictions within the systems and the processes of change. It finds little support for the official rhetoric that the transformation in land-tenure systems leads to secure tenure but mixed results for the claim that the process creates avenues for obtaining credit. Furthermore, at least in North Sudan and Ghana, the state grabs land and sells it to amass wealth and power under the guise of compulsorily acquiring land in the public interest and for title registration
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Land reforms in Africa: Theory, practice, and outcome', HABITAT INTERNATIONAL, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 161-170.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2012, 'Development and Globalization: A Marxian Class Analysis.', REVIEW OF RADICAL POLITICAL ECONOMICS, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 388-390.
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George, B.M. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'The Informal Economy is an Employer, a Nuisance, and a Goldmine: Multiple Representations of and Responses to Informality in Accra, Ghana', Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development, vol. 40, no. nos. 3 and 4, pp. 263-284.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'The informal sector in Ghana under siege', Journal of Developing Societies, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 355-392.
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In order to develop effective policies to improve conditions for people working in the informal sector of the economy, it is crucial to understand how that sector arises, operates, and relates to the state. This article analyses the informal sector in Ghana from this perspective, drawing insight from a wide range of sources such as radio and newspaper accounts to overcome the dearth of of? cial information on the subject. The analysis shows the limits of various approaches that have aimed at revamping the informal sector. It puts the case for a more comprehensive approach to the informal sector than has been evident in previous policies toward the urban economy.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'Real estate agents in Ghana: A suitable case for regulation?', Regional Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 403-416.
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Real estate agents in Ghana: a suitable case for regulation?, Regional Studies. This paper uses a qualitative approach to examine whether regulation would improve the effectiveness of the Ghanaian estate agency market. Interviews with landlords, estate agents, clients, and officials of the Rent Control Department suggest that (1) most so-called `problems with unlicensed agents are actually landlord-related problems; (2) there is a camaraderie relationship between unlicensed agents and their clients which effectively provides a licence against fraud; and (3) regulation would exacerbate unemployment and increase agency fees. For these reasons, regulation in general may not be in the public interest. Alternative ways of improving effectiveness in the Ghanaian estate agency market are recommended
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'Developing Accra for all? The story behind Africa's largest millennium city', Development, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 384-392.
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Cities provide both opportunities and costs. Franklin Obeng-Odoom looks at the `urban experience in Africa's largest millennium city, highlighting the trends and some of the tensions and contradictions in the process
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'Ill health unleashed? Cities and Municipal Services in Ghana', Review of African Political Economy, vol. 38, no. 127, pp. 43-60.
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Increasing urbanisation, wealth and ill health in cities necessitate careful study, especially in African cities whose development is widely regarded as rapid and chaotic. Using Ghanaian cities as a case study, this article analyses some of the important sources of ill health, identifies why they persist, and assesses how they impinge on economic growth, redistribution, and poverty reduction. It argues that, although there is considerable evidence that policy change is urgently needed, the tensions and contradictions between economic and social efficiency, intermeshed with vested political interests, are likely to impede significant changes to the status quo
Obeng-Odoom, F. & Ameyaw, S. 2011, 'The state of surveying in Africa: A Ghanaian Perspective', Property Management, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 262-284.
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the extent to which the process of becoming a surveyor in Ghana mirrors a broad conception of professionalism. Design/methodology/approach: The work is grounded in field research in the form of interviews/survey conducted by the authors in Ghana. The sample is drawn in such a way that the work benefits from the experiences of people at different levels of surveying training. Findings: The study reveals that professional surveying training in Ghana is effective but narrow: senior surveyors do provide mentoring to probationers, but they engage in poor labour practices; probationers do obtain professional training, but many of their expectations are not met. While there are both costs and benefits to the mentors and mentees, the study finds that, on balance, the process of professionalisation is designed to favour a few owners of surveying firms. Practical implications: It is the intention of the authors that this work would contribute to a process of "conscientisation". The paper provides part of the basis for young surveyors to reject being passive recipients of instruction to becoming active workers and professionals who have a deep awareness of the social reality which shapes their professional lives and understand how they can reshape that reality. Originality/value: This research work is the first study of the state of professionalism and work conditions of surveyors in Ghana. The study sheds light on the conditions under which surveyors work and shows how professional they are. On the one hand, this study provides the opportunity for prospective surveyors in Ghana to reflect on their aspiration before embarking on that "journey". On the other hand, it gives practising surveyors a basis for reflecting on how the profession can be improved.
Obeng-Odoom, F. & Amedzro, L. 2011, 'Inadequate housing in Ghana', Urbani Izziv (Urban Challenge), vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 127-137.
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Housing 'inadequacy' in Ghana is usually interpreted in two ways. One interpretation emphasises inadequate quantity: the gap between housing supply and housing demand. For instance, when Deputy Works and Housing Minister Hannah Bissiw was asked how the government would solve the inadequate housing the country faces, she said the government will construct over 200,000 housing units over the next 5 years . . . will put up some 300 units for Members of Parliament (MPs), ministers and other officials, while looking at providing another 1,000 units for the police, fire service, immigration officers and health workers in the country (Koomson, 2009). Generally, the housing policies pursued by successive governments in Ghana have all tried to close the gap between the needed and existing stock (Arku, 2009).
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'Book Review: Decentalization in Developing Countries: Global Perspectives on the Obstacles to Fiscal Development', Journal of Australian Political Economy, vol. -, no. 67, pp. 154-156.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'Book Review: The Hidden Millions: Homelessness in Developing Countries', Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 210-212.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'Reforming housing management in Ghana: The role of education', International Public Management Review, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 112-123.
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Recent studies about housing in Ghana have shown the inadequacies of the private sector-led approach to providing affordable housing. These studies provide the basis for considering alternatives, particularly social housing. This raises two important questions, namely: (a) how to switch from a private to a social housing regime and (b) how to maintain the social housing stock if it is established. This article is concerned primarily with the latter question. It focuses on the nature of education and training and education programs for housing managers, points out an overemphasis on what is termed a "managerialist" framework in what is taught, discusses the negative effects of this approach on housing provision and the housing market in general, and recommends additional areas for consideration in the context of systemic reform.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'Decentralization in Developing Countries: Global Perspectives on the Obstacles to Fiscal Devolution', JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY, no. 67, pp. 157-159.
Bob-Milliar, G.M. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2011, 'The informal economy is an employer, a nuisance, and a goldmine: Multiple representations of and responses to informality in Accra, Ghana', Urban Anthropology, vol. 40, no. 3-4, pp. 263-284.
An analysis of multiple sources of evidence, including field interviews and non-participant observation, shows that the informal economy in Accra, Ghana has a complex relationship with the state, not only as a nuisance or employer, but also as an avenue to reward and punish political supporters and opponents. Although informal people are regularly being forcibly evicted, they are not merely "on the run." Rather, they, in turn, are regularly engaging the state in multiple ways to maintain or reclaim urban space, a struggle that is sometimes mediated by civil society organizations acting as a "third way." Being a drama that benefits aspects of the state, such as the government, it is unlikely to end soon without greater struggle against the state. © 2011 The Institute, Inc.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Abnormal urbanisation in Africa: A dissenting view', African Geographical Review, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 13-40.
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Africa continues to urbanize but the so called `urbanization-development- nexus debate remains unsettled. Is urbanization correlated with economic development in Africa? Some argue that, although urbanization is positively correlated with economic development in Europe and elsewhere, Africas urbanization is parasitic and not conducive to economic development. Others contend that there is nothing abnormal about urbanization in Africa. This paper finds evidence in support of the latter view in the case of Ghana where qualitative evidence suggests that urbanization is strongly correlated with economic development. It discusses the reasons and implications of this positive correlation, including the potentially beneficial effects for both urban and rural economies in Ghana
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'An urban twist to politics in Ghana', Habitat International, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 392-399.
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This paper questions the preparedness of Ghanaian politicians for the 2010 urban `explosion in Ghana. It reveals that urban policy in Ghana is overly focussed on curbing the symptoms of urban problems while leaving the structural causes of the problems intact. Physical beautification of cities and `bright light ideas have taken precedence over policies that address the political economy of land, poverty and inequality. Although Ghana has a reputation for relatively good governance, this evidence on the limits to urban policies suggests that there are severe limits to the effectiveness of urban policies as a means of meeting social needs and redressing urban inequalities
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Is decentralisation in Ghana pro-poor?', Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, vol. July, no. 6, pp. 120-126.
Gyampo, R. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Ghana's democracy. A radical perspective', Current Politics and Economics in Africa, vol. 2, no. 3&4, pp. 221-242.
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Application of a Photocatalysis System to Wastewater: A Detailed Organic Removal of different fractions
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Urban real estate in Ghana: A study of housing-related remittances from Australia', Housing Studies, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 357-373.
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A combination of rapid population growth and low incomes results in housing shortages in Ghana. Migration to Europe, America and Scandinavia has provided a way for some Ghanaians to escape this housing problem, as they take advantage of salaries there in order to save and build houses much quicker back home. This study of Ghanaian migrants in Sydney shows that by keeping at two or more jobs and saving about 33 per cent of their incomes, they are able to build houses worth US$100 000 in Ghana within 3-6 years. How these Ghanaians acquire land, how they build and their experiences after completing their houses provide clues on how to improve housing policy in Ghana
Yeboah, E. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, '"We are not the only ones to blame': District Assemblies' perspectives on the state of planning in Ghana', Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, vol. November, no. 7, pp. 78-98.
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Planning has failed to exert effective influence on the growth of human settlements in Ghana. As a result, the growth of cities has been chaotic. The district assemblies, which are the designated planning authorities, are commonly blamed for this failure, yet little attention has been given to district assemblies perspectives of what factors lead to failures in planning. This paper attempts to fill this gap. Drawing on fieldwork in Ghana, it argues that, from the perspective of district assemblies, five major challenges inhibit planning, namely: an inflexible land ownership system, an unresponsive legislative framework, undue political interference, an acute human resource shortage, and the lack of a sustainable funding strategy. The paper concludes with proposals for reforming the planning system in Ghana
Obeng-Odoom, F. & Ameyaw, S. 2010, 'The future of surveying: Surveying students in Ghana reflect on life after School', Nordic Journal of Surveying and Real Estate Research, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 392-399.
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Quality surveying practice necessitates periodic evaluation of surveying courses and professional training programs. Based on interviews of 208 students and probationers who intend to become professional surveyors in Ghana, we analyse the prospects and challenges of surveying training and employment in Ghana. We find that technical competence is narrowly construed, business competence is given inadequate attention and labour concerns are completely ignored in the training. It seems that the surveying profession and training fail to adequately engage with social concerns. These findings constitute an urgent need for the expansion of the concept of `professionalism in surveying practice in Ghana.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Jim Stanford, Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism', African Review of Economics and Finance, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-4.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Book Review: Where the other half lives: Lower income housing in a neoliberal world: Sarah Glynn (ed)', Urban Studies, vol. -, no. 47, pp. 1587-1589.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Drive left, look right: the political economy of urban transport in Ghana', International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, vol. 1, no. 1-2, pp. 33-48.
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Car usage in Ghana is growing at an alarming rate. Logically, a growth in total number of cars must be because either (a) population is increasing or (b) car ownership per capita is rising or both. However, these do not sufficiently explain the increasing car population in Ghana. The article argues that the high demand for mobility in the country is an intrinsic part of the political economic track on which Ghana has been travelling since the mid-1980s. This demand is created by, and is in turn stimulated by, the accumulation of capital through economic liberalisation and imperial town planning laws that separate home from work. The result is manifest in human lives lost, environmental conditions worsened and property damaged. The article recommends alternative ways of improving urban transportation in Ghana.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'The State of African Cities 2008: A framework for addressing urban challenges in Africa', AFRICAN AFFAIRS, vol. 109, no. 435, pp. 340-341.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'Promoting human development through the global poverty project', Development, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 120-126.
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The Global Poverty Project has been launched in Australia with the aim of promoting human development through the eradication of global poverty. Enjoying the support of the Australian government and the UN, the project has been enthusiastically covered by the media. Franklin Obeng-Odoom asks how the project proposes to end global poverty and questions the effectiveness of its framework?
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2010, 'The role of urban marketing in local economic development a political economic perspective', Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 165-171.
The aggressive marketing of cities to attract private finance and capital is one important aspect of municipal neoliberalism. Urban marketing, as it is called, is said to be the the surest way to deliver urban economic development. Using a political-economic framework, this paper provides an alternative analysis of urban marketing, and highlights other avenues for addressing the urban question.
Kotir, J. & Obeng-Odoom, F. 2009, 'Microfinance and Rural Household Development: A Ghanaian perspective', Journal of Developing Societies, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 85-105.
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Though at the theoretical level, micro-credit is said to play a significant role in poverty reduction, empirical work on the role of micro-credit in poverty reduction is mixed with some studies indicating high levels of employment and income generation and others suggesting a worsening of poverty with micro-credit. Does micro-credit really get to the poor? Does it enhance or impede their productivity? Based on a study of 139 households in one rural area in the Upper West Region of Ghana, we find that: (a) Beneficiaries of micro-credit divert a significant portion of such loans into household consumption - albeit with moderate impact on household productivity and welfare and (b) Micro-credit has modest impact on rural community development.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2009, 'The Future of our Cities', Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 49-53.
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The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences devoted its conference in 1989 to the discussion of urbanisation in Ghana. Its verdict was a report called The Future of Our Cities. This essay reviews the future of Ghanaian cities as seen 19 years ago in that book and attempts an assessment of contemporary Ghanaian urbani- sation, drawing on the literature on urban planning and on newspaper and radio commentaries. It is argued that although there have been some achievements in resourcing the police force, for example, waste is mismanaged, unemployment is high and traffic congestion is more pervasive than ever. Some proposals for mitigating these hardships are presented.
Obeng-Odoom, F. 2009, 'Globalizing City. The Urban and Economic Transformation of Accra, Ghana', REGIONAL STUDIES, vol. 43, no. 7, pp. 997-998.
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Obeng-Odoom, F. 2009, 'Has the Habitat for Humanity Housing Scheme achieved its goals? A Ghanaian case study', JOURNAL OF HOUSING AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 67-84.
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Reports

Obeng-Odoom, F. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) 2015, Oil rents, policy, and social development: Lessons from the Ghana controversy, no. UNRISD Research Paper 2015-2, pp. i-17, Geneva.
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This is a refereed research paper
Selected Peer-Assessed Projects