April 2020

Ghana Institutional Framework for Water Provision


The Republic of Ghana is located in West Africa with Togo to the east, Côte d’Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. Ghana is a young, fast growing and urbanizing lower-middle income country: 57% of the population is under 25, urbanization occurs at a rate of 3.4% per annum and gross national income (GNI) per capita based on purchasing power parity in 2018 was $4,651 (World Bank, 2019). The country’s Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.592, ranking 140 among 189 countries (UNDP, 2018). Economic growth forecast is 7.6% for 2019 (World Bank, 2020).

Ghana has a multi-party parliamentary democracy with a president elected for a four-year mandate (Government of Ghana, 2017). Since the country passed the Local Governance Act in 1993, deconcentrated government entities called

Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are responsible for the development of essential services, including water and sanitation. The country has 260 MMDAs. To date, MMDAs retain the responsibility of advancing water access in rural areas. Following Ghana’s decentralization in 1993, the country established Ghana Water Company Limited, a state-owned limited liability company, responsible for delivering water supply in urban areas.

Between 1990 and 2015, access to improved water sources increased from 84% to 96% in urban areas and from 39% to 81% in rural areas (WHO/UNICEF, 2015). Accelerating the provision of safe water was a policy priority expressed in Ghana’s most recently published medium-term national development policy framework covering the period 2014-2017.

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