Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 237

Full Length Research Paper

An advocacy coalition approach to water policy change in Ghana: A look at belief systems and policy oriented learning

Kweku Ainuson
Mississippi State University, Department of Political Science and Public Administration and the African American Studies Program, USA.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 06 November 2009
  •  Published: 31 December 2009



The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) was developed by Sabatier and Jenkins Smith in 1993 to explain and predict policy change. Bloomquist and other scholars have referred to the ACF as one of the most promising theoretical frameworks for studying the policy process. The ACF has been applied widely to policy change in a plethora of substantive policy areas in the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. However, the ACF has not yet been applied to explain the policy process in Africa. Thus, to test the robustness of the framework, this research applies the ACF to explain water politics and the water policy process in Ghana. This research specifically looks at the belief systems and policy oriented learning in water policy change in Ghana. Using a combination of survey methodology and key interviews, the research tests two hypotheses of the ACF; i) Coalition members are more likely to interact with actors they perceive as sharing their beliefs than actors who do not share their beliefs; ii) Policy oriented learning is likely when there is the presence of a professionalized forum than when there is not. The findings show that the ACF offers a good explanation of the water policy process in Ghana.


Key words: Advocacy coalition framework, water politics, Ghana.