African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Full Length Research Paper

The politics of retirement income security policy in Ghana: Historical trajectories and transformative capabilities

Michael W. Kpessa
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, Diefenbaker Building Room 145, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, S7N 5B8, Saskatchewan, Canada. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 December 2010
  •  Published: 28 February 2011


The study of pensions, retirement or old age income support policies in the developing world has been relegated to the background largely because such programs are limited in scope and cover only a small fraction of the population, mostly formal labour market employees. However because pension policies address issue relating to income security at the latter stages of life, it is crucial that we understand how they were developed over time by policy makers while paying special attention to the domestic political factors that shaped their decisions. This paper analyses the development and transformation of retirement income policy in Ghana. Contrary to the conventional wisdom in which social security policies were framed as by-products of development and industrialization, this paper argues that formal retirement income policies in Ghana have often been designed to promote socio-economic and political development in various ways Beyond the exigency of retirement income security, the paper shows that while old age income support policies, which focused mostly in the formal labour market were used to encourage, promote labour productivity in the colonial service, the postcolonial trajectories of such policies emphasized capital accumulation and mobilization of political support.


Key words: Pensions, retirement age, labour market employees, retirement income securities, Ghana.