ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Towards poverty reduction in developing countries: An analysis of ecotourism implementation in the Kakum Conservation Area, Ghana (2011-2014)

ILWS Strategic Research Area
Improving Rural Livelihoods and Environments in Developing Countries

CSU PhD scholarship
ILWS Top-Up Scholarship 2012-13 

Investigators/ Researchers
Patrick Brandful Cobbinah (PhD student) Supervisors:  Associate Prof Rosemary Black (principal) and Dr Rik Thwaites


Poverty is the most widespread social problem in developing countries and despite efforts by national and international organisations, it continues unabated due for reasons including the neglect of environmental and cultural issues, weak institutions and political instability. Ecotourism has been identified as having the potential to reduce poverty levels by stimulating pro-poor growth in host communities whileprotecting the environment. Regardless of this potential, many host communities are trapped in perpetual poverty.

This research is examining the dynamics of poverty, the application of the ecotourism concept and the outcomes of ecotourism on poverty reduction in the Kakum Conservation Area (KCA) in Ghana.
The pragmatic paradigm and the mixed methods approach is being used for the study using interviews, survey, observation and secondary data. The data will be analysed using content and statistical analyses.

Poverty in the communities around the KCA is being reviewed from economic, political, socio-cultural, environmental and psychological perspectives. From the case study research, ecotourism in the KCA has both increased poverty by restricting access to resources such as roofing materials, and farm raiding by wildlife; and contributed to poverty alleviation by protecting the environment which is perceived by local communities to induce rainfall for farming activities. Additionally, ecotourism has contributed to community empowerment especially women in the study communities through basket weaving, bead making, bee keeping and provision of catering services. However, there is no ecotourism policy in Ghana, resulting in inadequate understanding of ecotourism's potential to reduce poverty among ecotourism related institutions in the KCA. There is also no mechanism for distributing the impacts of ecotourism in the communities around the KCA which has resulted in the exclusion of the communities in the distribution of ecotourism revenue from the KCA.


Cobbinah, P. B., Erdiaw-Kwasie,M. O., & Amoateng, P. (2015) Rethinking sustainable development within the framework of poverty and urbanisation in developing countries. Environmental Development, 13, 18-32

Amoateng, P., Cobbinah, P.B., & Kwasi, O. (2014) Towards creation of sustainable enclaves for small and medium-size enterprises in Kumasi, Ghana. International Journal of Social, Human and Science Engineering, Vol 8, No 1

Napari, P.N. &  Cobbinah, P.B. (2014) ) Environmental Sanitation Dilemma in the Tamale Metropolis, Ghana,  International Journal of Social, Human and Science Engineering, Vol 8, No 1.

Amoako, C., Cobbinah, P.B., & Rockson, M. (2014) Urban Infrastructure Design and Pedestrian Safety in the Kumasi Central Business District, Ghana. Journal of Transportation Safety & Security. 6:3, 235-256. 

Cobbinah, P.B., Black, R., & Thwaites, R. (2013). Dynamics of poverty in developing countries: Review of poverty reduction approaches, Journal of Sustainable Development, 6(9), 25-35.

Cobbinah, P.B., Black, R. & Thwaites, R. (2013). Tourism planning in developing countries: Review of concepts and sustainability issues, World Academy of Science, Engineering & Technology International Journal of Social, Human Science & Engineering, 7(4), 211–218.

Cobbinah, P.B., Black, R., & Thwaites, R. (2011). Reflections on six decades of the concept of development: Evaluation and future research, Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 13(7), 134-149. 

Cobbinah WomenCobbinah bridge

Poverty and Ecotourism in rural Ghana


This study will provide a deeper understanding of the nature and dynamics of poverty, the role and potential of ecotourism activities in reducing poverty, as well as serving as a basis for effective ecotourism implementation and management in developing countries particularly Ghana

Dr Patrick Brandful Cobbinah

March 2015