Ghana's decentralisation programme involves the strengthening of district capitals (defined in this paper as small towns) as focal points for the socio-economic development of districts. Few studies have, however, been done on the role of district capitals and the linkages between these centres and their hinterlands as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the strategy. This paper provides a conceptualised and analytical model for examining the role of district capitals and rural-urban linkages in regional development in Ghana. The model is operationalised using two district capitals in the central region as a case study. The paper identifies four critical factors in operationalising the model: small towns' production and service functions; proximity and accessibility to higher-order centres; national macro-economic policies; and the impact of Ghana's decentralisation programme. It concludes that the desired goals of the strategy can be achieved by a genuine decentralisation policy and supportive district development policies formulated at the national level.