Dr. Callistus Mahama holds a PhD in Land Law and an MPhil in Land Economy both from the University of Cambridge, England, United Kingdom. He originally graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and University (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana with a BSc in Land Economy.
Until January 2017, Dr. Mahama was the Head of the Local Government Service which was carved out of the Ghana Civil Service in 2007. The Service has a work force of about 45,000. In that capacity, he initiated and supervised the implementation of Ghana’s new Administrative Decentralization policy and oversaw the capacitation of the Local Authorities to be able to effectively perform their new decentralized functions. He was at the same time also the Coordinator of the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralization (IMCC) Secretariat, an apex body created in 2011 to drive Ghana’s decentralization agenda and which is chaired by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana. He worked closely with the President and the other Ministers of State who constituted the IMCC and prepared the position papers on decentralization reform issues for consideration by the Inter-Ministerial Committee. The IMCC is wholly funded by the European Union.
In his position as the Head of the Local Government Service, Dr. Mahama was an ex officio member of the Transition Team that oversaw Ghana’s successful transition from the National Democratic Congress administration of the Sixth Government of the Fourth Republic of Ghana to the New Patriotic Party administration of the Seventh Government of the Fourth Republic of Ghana in January 2017. This was the third time in Ghana’s 25-year old Fourth Republic that political power was being transferred from a ruling political party to the opposition political party, the earlier transitions having occurred in 2001 and 2009.
Between 2009 and 2013, Dr. Mahama was the Deputy Director and Head of the Accra Campus of the Institute of Local Government Studies, Ghana, and prior to that, between 2006 and 2009, he was the Deputy Director and Head of the Tamale Campus of the same Institute.
He was a Lecturer at the Department of Land Economy of the KNUST between 2004 and 2007, a Junior Partner at Valuation and Estate Services Limited in Kumasi, Ghana (2004-2007) and Junior Partner with the UK firm of Padfield and Woodman Associates also in Kumasi, Ghana (2004-2005).
Ad hoc public appointments held by Dr. Mahama have included the following: Chairperson of the Decentralization Sector Working Group of the Government of Ghana and the Development Partners (2014-2017); Member of the African Commission for Local Government Improvement International Expert Panel (2010-2013); Member of the High Level Strategic Committee on Decentralization Reforms in Ghana (2010-2011); Member of the Local Government Service Council of Ghana (2010-2017); Member of the Ministerial Expert Committee responsible for the Review of Ghana’s Decentralization Programme (2009-2011); Member of the Steering Committee of the Government of Ghana/World Bank-funded Northern Region Poverty Reduction Programme (NORPREP) (2004-2011); Member of the Northern Regional Lands Commission (2007-2010); and Member of the East Gonja District Assembly in Ghana (2006-2009).
Dr. Mahama is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, UK (MCIPR) and of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors (AGhIS). He was awarded the Mo Ibrahim Award for Development in African Initiative in 2009 and is an Associate Member of the Centre of African Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a member of the Royal Cambridge Society.
Dr. Mahama has several other professional experiences to his credit. He was a member of the National Technical Working Group for the Implementation of the Composite Budget System in Ghana (2009) which operationalised the transition from the orthodox budgeting system to one of fiscal decentralization; a member of the Ministerial Expert Review Committee for the Ghana Government Decentralization Review Programme (2009); and a member of the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programme Country Selection Committee (2008/2009). He was a reviewer of the Journal of Urban Studies in 2007 and the Editor of the Journal of Local Government of the Institute of Local Government Studies also in 2007.
Dr. Mahama has a large number of peer-reviewed and refereed articles and other publications to his credit. Among them are the following:
- Disseminating Government Policy to Local Communities: A Communications Audit of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (2014, with Opoku-Amankwah K).
- Framework for Mainstreaming Environmental Management into the Medium-Term Development Plan for District Assemblies in Ghana (2014, with Fobil J.).
- The Politics of Decentralization Reforms in Ghana: The Experience of Northern Ghana (2013).
- A Local Economic Development (LED) Policy for Ghana: Imperatives and Lessons for Ghana (2011).
- Local Government and Traditional Authorities in Concert: Towards a more Productive Relationship (2009).
- Local Economic Development and Local Government in Ghana: Navigating a Viable Path to Reform (2009).
- Strengthening Local Governments for Effective Local Economic Development in Ghana – A position paper presented at the Centre of African Studies, University of London as part of the Governance for Development in Africa Initiative sponsored by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (2009).
- Women’s Access to Justice and the Court System in Northern Ghana (2009, with Wumbla B. & Muktar U. (Eds.) (2009).
- Public Perception about Local Government in Ghana: A Survey of Selected Districts in Northern Ghana (2008, with Otten D.).
- Partnership Modalities between Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and Traditional Authorities (2008).
Dr. Mahama has also presented various papers at local and international fora. These have included the following:
- Deepening Administrative Decentralization in Ghana: The Role of the Legislature (2012). Presented at a Workshop organized by the GIZ/SfDR/GIMPA/ILGS, Accra, Ghana.
- The Revised National Decentralization Action Plan: Strategies for Implementation (2011). Presented at a Workshop for Members of Parliament, Accra, Ghana.
- Ghana’s District Assembly System: Roles, Responsibilities and Accountability Relations (2009). Presented at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, London, UK.
- Capacity Needs of Stakeholders in the Management of Natural Resources in Ghana (2008). Presented at a Workshop organized by the West Africa Resource Initiative, Dakar, Senegal.
- Acquisition, Transfer and Affordability of Land for Housing in Urban Ghana (2006). Presented at the Third ‘World Urban Forum’, Canada.
- Pragmatic Land Management in Contemporary Times (2004). Presented at the Fourth European Housing Network in Cambridge, UK.
Dr. Callistus Mahama is married with 2 children.