IMANI launches report on National Sanitation Forum

IMANI launches report on National Sanitation Forum

General News of Tuesday, 17 April 2018


Some participants at the forum

IMANI Ghana has released a report on its National Sanitation Forum which was held on 20th March 2018 under the theme “Ghana’s sanitation has failed”.

Personalities such as the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Joseph Kofi Adda; the Mayor for Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mohammed Adjei Sowah; a representative of the private waste management companies, Joseph Siaw Agyapong and an investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni were there to speak on the theme and propose solutions to Ghana’s seemingly unending sanitation crisis.

Find the full report below

Report on IMANI’s National Sanitation Forum

The forum was held on 20th March, 2018 at the British Council, Accra on the theme “Ghana’s sanitation has failed. Why and how do we get it right?”.


For the past 20 years, Ghana has wrestled and continually failed at sanitation and waste management. This has led to national mobilisation led by Presidents cleaning gutters as a sign of expensive municipal projects. Ghana has failed in its strategies to tackle the issue of sanitation to the extent that Ghana holds a dubious reputation among the top indices of countries that practice open defecation and deaths due to cholera and other unsanitary public health problems. This has affected the rating of its capital city as a relatively dirty city in many global rankings, with associated endemic health problems.

Event Report

IMANI organised a National Sanitation Forum on 20th March, 2018 at the British Council, Accra, Ghana on the theme Ghana’s sanitation has failed. Why and how do we get it right? This historic event assembled key stakeholders in the sanitation industry including the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Joseph Kowe Adda, the Mayor for Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, a representative of the private waste management companies, Mr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong and an investigative journalist who has written extensively on sanitation in Ghana, Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni.

The event started at 10:00 am with welcome remarks given by Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President and CEO for Imani Center for Policy and Education. According to Mr. Cudjoe, sanitation unlike human rights, had to be worked on, he called upon the government to pay critical attention to the sanitation issues in the country.

Mr. Cudjoe introduced the Keynote Speaker, Mr. Casely Ato Coleman as an IMANI Fellow who has over decades of experience in leadership, human resource and organizational development from the international development, profit and public sector. Mr. Ato Coleman stated that Ghana has failed as a country when it comes to issues of sanitation. According to Mr. Coleman, Ghana has failed to solve issues of sanitation in the past years due to failed systems and institutions in the country when compared to other countries. He referred to the UNDP 2012 Report on Economic Impact of Poor Sanitation in Ghana which states that Ghana loses $79 million and approximately 19,000 Ghanaians die every year from diarrhoea as a result of poor sanitation.

Mr. Coleman’s presentation adopted the systems-wide organizational design approach which examined 5 main elements namely; values, behaviours, data, knowledge management and operational excellence. He added that a very weak organizational model can also be accounted to some of the paralysis in decision making with respect to waste management in Ghana.

Mr. Coleman recommended there must be some clarity on separation of roles and checks and balances between the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Works and Housing to co-ordinate efforts, expertise and resources. According to Mr. Coleman, the war against filth in Ghana can be won, if the country adopts the systems wide organizational design. He urged government, the private sector and citizens to be disciplined in order to create a ‘Ghana beyond borla’ The full presentation can be accessed at:

The next phase of the event witnessed a panel discussion that was moderated by Mr. Kofi Bentil (Senior Vice President). Mr Bentil initiated the discussions by probing the Minister of Sanitation about what it’s major mandate was. In the Ministers response, he mentioned that the major mandate of the Ministry is to provide strategic direction to policies aimed at solving sanitation issues. He added to it that the ministry cannot control the Local authorities since their mandate is limited to local administration. He added that the ministry can only give strategic directions to the district assemblies on how to eradicate sanitation in their various districts.

The Mayor for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah in his initial submissions indicated that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly is an autonomous body and not under the Ministry of Sanitation. However, Hon. Adda stated that his Ministry can give directives to the Sanitation Ministry on strategies and systems to adopt to solve the sanitation in the country but they cannot interfere in each other’s activities.

The Minister also mentioned that government has plans of procuring equipment for waste management companies. Hon. Adda’s presentation can be found at:

According to Mr. Adjei Sowah, the Assembly has worked assiduously to address the liquid waste problem of Accra with the construction three liquid waste plants at Lavenda Hill. He also mentioned that in the next few months, the assembly will launch the Accra beautification project by which AMA intends to bring on board a number of interventions to improve the sanitation condition in Accra. Mr. Sowah’s presentation can be found at:

Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni in his presentation stated that the problem of sanitation in Ghana is monopoly, corruption and non-enforcement of laws. He believes the District Assemblies can help in waste management. He indicated that there was a pseudo-monopoly around the issuing of government contracts to one company, Zoomlion, which is a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies.

Mr. Azure believed that monopoly still exists in the sanitation sector and this must be eliminated to allow other companies and the private sector to help in cleaning the country. Mr. Azure made an example of a landfill site he visited at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region which has been well managed by another private company. He believes if the monopoly has been removed other companies can step in and help to manage waste effectively. Mr. Azure recommended that there is a need for a campaign towards changing the attitude of the public on waste management. Mr. Azure’s presentation can be assessed at:

The moderator, Mr. Kofi Bentil, gave Mr. Joseph Siaw Adjepong the floor to make his submissions, with which he began with the fact that the private sector has done their best to manage waste in Ghana and they must be commended. He added there is a problem of sanitation in Ghana and this problem can be attributed to non-enforcement of laws.

Mr. Siaw Agyapong stated that the private sector has all the infrastructure needed to manage waste in Ghana. He gave an example of Zoomlion, a waste management company that has introduced a compost plant in Ghana which turns rubbish into fertilizers. He added to it that, Zoomlion alone had invested $40 million waste processing and cycling plant at Adjen Kotoku in the Ga West municipality and plans to expand the 600 metric tonne waste treatment facility to a 2800 metric tonne capacity treatment plant. He pleaded for government’s support to help the private sector to manage waste in Ghana since they have all the necessary infrastructure to handle issues related to local waste management. Mr. Agyapong stressed that the country Environmental and Sanitation Policy developed in 1999 and revised in 2010, if implemented fully would help address the sanitation issues facing the country.

Interventions by Government

Hon. Adda said the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources would soon launch a national sanitation campaign as one of its flagship programs towards improving sanitation in the country. The campaign, he said, would be targeted at dealing with sanitation woes in the country. He also mentioned that a 2,000 member strong sanitation brigade would be deployed across the country next month (April 2018) to ensure a clean environment. These sanitation officers will Work together with Environmental Health Officers whose efforts have been inadequate in curbing and managing the problems related to sanitation in the country due to their lack of resources and capability.

According to the Minister, the sanitation Brigades would enforce the Sanitation laws in the country to ensure that the various communities would be kept clean.


Engineer Kwabena Agyapong, an expert in waste management made a contribution by stating that, Ghana’s current method of collecting waste which is the landfill process is not the best for the country. According to him, landfilling carries the greatest threat to human health in addition to its proven negative impact on the environment. He added that landfilling creates open access to scavenging animals, rodents and other disease vectors, pollute soil, groundwater, surface water and produces gases that contribute significantly to global warming. He suggested the anaerobic digestion (AD) and to a lesser extent, incineration (Combined Heat and Power, CHP) may be the more appropriate and promising alternatives. By adopting this model nutrients are recovered and recycled into the renewable energy is produced.

The full video for the event can be assessed on IMANI’s YouTube Page at:


The event was recorded live on JOY FM and Metro TV. Our live media broadcast reached over half of Ghana’s population through radio and live Television broadcast. The event was reported by Ghana’s only two and biggest state-owned newspapers. In addition to that, the event was attended by 35 other media houses, 360 people attended the forum including diplomats from the American, Netherlands, Denmark, Chinese, British and Nigeria embassies. Kindly see below some media links.

Sanitation: I don’t control sweepers; Accra mayor shifts blame

‘Provide capital for private sector to deal with waste’

AMA to operationalize five sanitation courts

Social Media


IMANI had a very vibrant and active social media team. The team created a page on Facebook for the event known as Ghana Sanitation Forum. IMANI conducted polls on social media a week before the event. Kindly see the questions and responses from the polls below. The event was carried live on Facebook which reached over 202 views.


The event was carried live on twitter using the hashtag #cleartheborla which means clear the rubbish on our streets. IMANI’s hashtag trended on twitter on the day of the event and happened to be among the top tweets for the day with 1,912 tweets.

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