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: 389

Full Length Research Paper

Contemporary approaches to sustainable development: Exploring critical innovations in traditional leadership in Ghana

  Jones Lewis Arthur1* and Michael Kofi Nsiah2  
  1Lecturer/Executive Director (BAREC), Sunyani Polytechnic, P. O. Box 206, Sunyani, Ghana. 2Planning Officer, Sunyani Polytechnic, P. O. Box 206, Sunyani, Ghana.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 March 2011
  •  Published: 31 May 2011



The paper examines the complexities between traditional and political leadership, science and technology and sustainable development in the context of developing countries. Particular resource information was drawn from Ghana’s experience. Available literature was also reviewed. The participatory methodology was used for data collection. This included Literature review or review of existing research data, Community forum, Focus group discussions, Interview of key informants and Community cafes. Key informants including chiefs, researchers, and community opinion leaders were interviewed on their perception on how science, technology and tradition can co-exist to demystify the issues of sustainable development in the rich cultural Ghanaian societies. Descriptive sampling design was used and covered various communities of Ghana. A sample size of 500, making up 100 households of about 5 people, were sampled for their views, comments and perceptions on indigenous knowledge, traditional leadership, environmental best practices. The sampling procedures employed included incidental, purposive, snowballing and cluster to identify floating respondents, groups and key informants through identification by friends, colleagues and neighbours. It was identified that both traditional and national politics have critical roles to play in ensuring sustainable development, as they stand a greater chance to demystify the misconceptions about science within the rich cultural environments of the Ghanaian society. Chiefs, Queen mothers and elders of Ghana’s traditional societies are actively contributing to sustainable development through best practices, education and advocacy and drives towards a safer and productive environment and its resources. Adopting a closer bottom-to-up approach to development was identified as a pragmatic step to ensuring an environmentally safe and productive development that applies science and technology to provide the needs of the present and future generations.


Key words: Society, tradition, leadership, governance, sustainable development, indigenous knowledge.