Operation: Opération: Ghana



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Key Figures

2019 year-end results
800 households benefitted from cash-based interventions through mobile money (some 99% of the targeted beneficiaries)
500 people of concern benefitted from UNHCR assistance to promote self-reliance including through farming, business establishment, wage-earning employment, cash assistance to boost businesses and livelihoods, as well as language and entrepreneurial training
400 people of concern (some 32% of the targeted population) were enrolled in secondary education
94% of people of concern had a valid identity document
71% of people of concern living in refugee camps had adequate shelter
2020 planning figures
5,300 children enrolled in primary education
650 people of concern will receive resident permits
560 people of concern provided with entrepreneurship/business training         
130 people of concern trained on SGBV prevention and response
110 children registered and for whom documentation is issued under regular birth registration procedure

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2019 13,463
2018 13,216
2017 13,470


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2019 {"categories":[2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020],"budget":[10.948861362,9.44475501,8.878866630000001,8.08587775,7.69708201,7.88681904],"expenditure":[5.30940838,5.07294779,5.39249998,4.42170778,5.73379425,null]} {"categories":[2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020],"p1":[10.948861362,9.44475501,8.878866630000001,8.08587775,7.69708201,7.88681904],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020],"p1":[5.30940838,5.07294779,5.39249998,4.42170778,5.73379425,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020

Operational context

Ghana remained politically and economically stable in 2019, and while the country was generally considered safe, Ghana was on security alert due to the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, more specifically in Burkina Faso, that was expected to result in an influx of refugees into Ghana.  

With respect to the protection environment, UNHCR in Ghana continued with the implementation of the 2017-2021 multi-year, multi-partner protection and solutions strategy which includes the provision of five-year residency permits to refugees in a protracted situation. While alternative legal status in the form of resident permits was extended to former Liberian former refugees, the Government was yet to take a formal decision on the legal pathway towards de jure local integration for refugees mainly from Cote d’Ivoire. Moreover, despite UNHCR engagement with the Governments of Ghana and Togo, local integration for Togolese refugees who have been in Ghana since early 1990s remained unresolved in 2019.  

In August 2019, the operation received an additional $2.8 million from the multi-country solutions capital initiative, which aims to reinforce the Government’s asylum structure, provide opportunities for durable solutions, prevent statelessness, facilitate refugees’ self-reliance and guarantee their access to government services on par with nationals.

At the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019, Ghana pledged to advance the local integration and solutions for refugees in Ghana; adhere to the statelessness conventions by 2021; and support efforts of UNHCR to identify groups at risk of statelessness.

Population trends

As of December 2019, Ghana was host to some 13,500 refugees and asylum-seekers. The operation continued a verification exercise which commenced in December 2018, and by the end of 2019 had covered all locations in Ghana. In 2019, the majority of asylum-seekers originated from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic. In addition, approximately 2,000 asylum-seekers from Burkina Faso arrived in Ghana during the reporting period and were yet to be registered. 

During the year some 800 people of concern chose to repatriate to their countries of origin - 96% of whom were Ivorians.


  • UNHCR launched an employment and entrepreneurship forum, to showcase refugee skills, highlight employment opportunities with the private sector, and to encourage policies that would facilitate the employment of refugees.
  • UNHCR supported the renewal of passports for approximately 2,000 Liberian refugees in the process of local integration.  The refugees will subsequently receive a 5-year residence permit (at a reduced cost) that will pave the way for indefinite residence permits. Over 200 newborns also received passports, thus confirming their nationality.
  • Ghana pledged to adhere to the two statelessness conventions by 2021 and support efforts of UNHCR and UNFPA to identify persons at risk of statelessness.
  • The operation is Ghana was able to enhance existing partnerships as well as to initiate partnerships with non-traditional actors in the private sector, academia and government to support the protection and solutions strategy.

Unmet needs

  • Despite an increase in the voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugees in 2019, overall low interest continued to be a challenge.
  • Due to security concerns, some 2,000 asylum-seekers from Burkina Faso were not registered. 

Working environment

The operational environment in Ghana is expected to remain stable in 2019. The estimated number of people of concern to UNHCR in Ghana in 2019 stands at close to 12,000 people. With positive economic developments in the country, it has increasingly become a country of destination for asylum-seekers in the region,
The United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership (UNSDP) 2018 – 2022 signed with the Ghana Government in July 2018 sets out strategic priorities for the partnership between the UN and the Government of Ghana. It targets support towards the implementation of national development strategies and the achievement of global development, human rights and environment commitments.
The Ministry of Interior is the key policy-maker regarding people of concern to UNHCR in Ghana. UNHCR will continue to work with Ghana Refugee Board (GRB), main interlocutor within the Ministry, to strengthen partnerships with various government stakeholders, as well as with other UN agencies, development partners, civil society and the private sector.
UNHCR’s operational focus in Ghana has shifted from emergency assistance to the search for durable solutions. This shift has also brought challenges among the refugee communities such as: discontent on withdrawal of food and other emergency assistance, lack of willingness to engage on durable solutions other than resettlement, and tensions with host communities due to accusations of food theft.
UNHCR continues to work closely and cooperate with the Government of Ghana and neighbouring governments in an effort to ensure a collaborative and consistent approach to asylum across the region. The strategic objectives of the multi-year multi-partner (MYMP) strategy developed in 2016 include voluntary repatriation as the most desirable solution for refugees and local integration for those unable or unwilling to return to their country based on valid protection reasons. Refugees with heightened protection needs and serious medical conditions not treatable in Ghana will be identified for resettlement. 
As part of the MYMP approach, UNHCR seeks to leverage the regional framework applicable in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). UNHCR has developed a rights-based solution framework in West Africa for protracted refugees opting for local integration in their asylum countries, supporting long-term residency coupled with the issuance of nationality documents and/or naturalization as appropriate durable solutions. This framework was strengthened by the Abidjan Declaration on the Eradication of Statelessness in February 2015. The Conclusions and Recommendations of the ECOWAS Ministerial Conference on Statelessness emphasize the particular risk of statelessness for protracted refugees, recommending measures to facilitate the (re)acquisition of nationality.

Key priorities

 In 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
  • civil registration, individual documentation, SGBV response, access to health and education for primary school-aged children, child protection, and durable solutions;
  • consolidating  the mainstreaming of basic and essential services into the national systems and empowering refugees to be self-sufficient in conjunction with strengthened advocacy to ensure that people of concern are able to access national protection services;
  • facilitation of voluntary return of Ivorian refugees, including the provision of better information on conditions in areas of return through go-and-see and come-and-tell visits and on the  return package;
  • identifying refugees with heightened protection risks and in need of resettlement, and submitting the cases of identified people for resettlement through the regional office;
  • achieving an agreement with the Government concerning legal local integration as a durable solution for refugees in protracted situations, particularly, the acquisition of long term residence permits for those opting for it;
  • provision of individual documentation, including birth certificates for children born in Ghana, as well as ensuring people of concern have access to basic services and banking;
  • advocating for the Government of Ghana to accede to the conventions on Statelessness;
  • strengthening SGBV procedures and coordination mechanisms further with the increased involvement of State actors.
Latest contributions
  • 01-JUL-2020
  • 30-JUN-2020
  • Japan

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  • Malaysia

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  • Brazil
  • Spain

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  • Thailand

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  • Norway

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  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • 29-JUN-2020
  • Norway

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  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Argentina
  • Spain
  • Greece

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  • Romania
  • Sweden

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