Operation: Opération: Ghana



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
1,580 people of concern were enrolled in primary education
100 people of concern who required referral to secondary and tertiary health care facilities were provided with services
40 people of concern voluntarily repatriated with UNHCR’s assistance
4 camp schools in Ghana were equipped with national school feeding programmes and proficient teachers
2018 planning figures
80% of primary school-aged children will be enrolled in primary education
2,000 refugees provided with cash or vouchers for livelihoods provisioning
800 persons at risk of statelessness will be assisted with documentation
300 refugees will receive production kits for agriculture/livestock/fishery activities
150 households will receive vouchers for shelter construction materials 
4 advocacy interventions will be carried out for creation of conducive conditions for solutions

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 13,470
2016 13,236
2015 19,265


[["Refugees",12156],["Asylum-seekers",1313],["Returned refugees",1]]
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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[12.09932992,11.01536939,10.948861362,9.44475501,8.87886663,8.08587775],"expenditure":[6.82506467,6.26076977,5.30940838,5.07294779,5.39249998,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[11.76940415,10.78536939,10.948861362,9.44475501,8.87886663,8.08587775],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[0.32992577,0.23,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[6.76650996,6.26076977,5.30940838,5.07294779,5.39249998,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[0.05855471,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

The operational environment in Ghana remained stable throughout the year.
In Ghana, the UNDAF was replaced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership (UNSDPF) Framework 2018–2022, which sets out the strategic priorities for partnership between the UN and the Government of Ghana. UNSDPF targets support the implementation of national development strategies and the achievement of global development, human rights and environment commitments. Out of the four result groups in the UNSDP, refugees have been included in two: 1) social investment in people; and 2) inclusive, equitable and accountable governance.
Registration, refugee status determination (RSD) and issuance of individual documentation has been handed entirely over to the Government. At the end of August 2017, the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB), the first instance national adjudicating body, was fully reconstituted with a Chairman. However, GRB did not adjudicate on any cases in 2017. Therefore, approximately 1,300 asylum-seekers in Ghana faced a prolonged waiting period from the time of registration to final decision. To address the backlog, UNHCR assessed the training needs of the new GRB and provided training and resources for RSD in 2017.
The Government rolled out a policy of free public Senior High School (SHS) in September 2017, under which the Government absorbed all school fees. The understanding reached with GRB and school authorities ensured that eligible refugees benefited from SHS policy.

Population trends

At the end of 2017, the population of concern in Ghana stood at 13,500 refugees and asylum-seekers – similar to figures from the end of 2016 - consisting of close to 6,400 females and some 7,100 males mainly from Côte d’Ivoire and Togo.  
A verification exercise conducted at the end of the year for Togolese in the Volta Region of Ghana accounted for the slight increase from 2016 figures, mainly due to newborn registration. Furthermore, the National Disaster Management Organization reported the arrival of some 500 Togolese in three communities in the Northern Region of Ghana at the end of September 2017.
Interest in voluntary repatriation remained low while, due to no passports being issued, local integration was not implemented, including for some 570 Liberians who opted to locally integrate.

Key achievements

  • In July 2017, UNHCR organized a national workshop on local integration (LI), which ensured an initial approval to include all refugee groups in the Multi-Year Multi-Partner (MYMP) Protection and Solution Strategy. The GRB requested approval to the Minister of the Interior for indefinite residence status and/or naturalization. LI opportunities for each population group are subject to final endorsement by the Government.
  • In line with the strategic objective in the MYMP to maintain an efficient asylum system, in 2017 the operation migrated the registration database from proGres to proGres v4: a web-based registration database.
  • UNHCR and the Government of Ghana successfully concluded a MoU for access to proGres v4 and, as a result, UNHCR handed over the registration and documentation to the GRB.
  • With the administrative integration of camp schools into the national education system fully achieved, UNHCR concluded a MoU with Varkey Foundation which has introduced interactive distance learning and after school sessions for out-of-school children in Ampain camp.
  • UNHCR and the NGO Worldreader Ghana have entered into an agreement to introduce the Worldreader E-Reading Project in Krisan and Egyeikrom refugee camp schools with the objective to help children learn how to read.
  • With UNHCR’s advocacy, the Minister responsible for Social Protection has decreed that refugees should be included in the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
  • To further the inclusion of refugees in the national Social Protection Policy in 2015, the Ghana School Feeding Programme under the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection approved camp schools for school feeding programmes in 2017.

Unmet needs

  • 60 per cent of the Ivorian refugee population continue to live in inadequate shelters almost six years after their arrival. Only a limited number of families were supported by UNHCR to improve and upgrade their housing with shelter kits and technical guidance.
  • The needs for laboratory services and diagnostic capacity for health service at the camp level were not met. Provision of these services would have reduced the need for referrals and the associated cost. 
  • The results of the Wealth Ranking Exercise conducted in 2016 showed that a significant number of people of concern are in need of support but due to budgetary constraints, the operation was unable to extend cash assistance to cover all of them in 2017.

Working environment

Ghana enjoys political and democratic stability, but faces serious socio-economic challenges, including high inflation rates, instability of local currency, power outages, and rising youth unemployment. These affect people of concern through rising costs of living and difficulties in securing formal employment. Refugees have the right to apply for work permits, facilitated by the Ghana Refugee Board. Finding employment is often difficult, however, as an initial employer commitment is required as a precondition for being granted a work permit.

Social protection initiatives in Ghana include the Livelihoods Empowerment Against Poverty and the National Health Insurance Scheme. In addition some vulnerable categories are included in the Free School Uniforms and Textbooks, and the National School Feeding Program. UNHCR has been involved in the Social Protection Working Group to advocate that refugees and asylum-seekers should benefit from social protection programs.                                                                                                                                

Ghana continues to offer a relatively generous asylum policy to people of concern from Africa and other regions based on a wide interpretation of Article 1(A) of the 1951 Refugee Convention and Article 1 of the 1969 Organization of African Unity Refugee Convention.

Key priorities

In 2017 UNHCR will prioritize all activities aimed at the implementation of a multi-year protection and solutions strategy in the form of local integration of Togolese refugees and other small refugee groups in protracted situations. A comprehensive durable solutions strategy will also be implemented in 2017 targeting Ivorian and other refugees settled in Krisan camp, with the aim of voluntary repatriation. UNHCR will also extend support to sustainable livelihoods combined with effective access to state basic and social services with an aim to achieve local integration. 

In the pursuit of adequate durable solutions for refugees, there will be an emphasis on adequate individual documentation to ensure the swift access to birth certificates for children born on Ghanaian soil. In addition, a rapid completion of Best Interest Determination Procedures in particular for unaccompanied and/or separated children will be important in enhancing protective solutions and preventing situations of statelessness arising from prolonged exile.