Operation: Opération: Ghana



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
530 refugee households received cash transfers through mobile money
300 Ivorian refugees (101 households) were assisted to return to their country of origin
200 camp-based and urban people of concern were enrolled in senior high school
2019 planning figures
3,280 women will receive sanitary materials
700 households will receive cash grants
400 people of concern from minorities or indigenous groups will receive specific support
230 households will receive vouchers for shelter construction
200 people of concern will receive production kits for agriculture/livestock/fisheries activities
200 people of concern will receive cash or vouchers for livelihoods

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 13,216
2017 13,470
2016 13,236


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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[11.01536939,10.948861362,9.44475501,8.87886663,8.08587775,7.15899201],"expenditure":[6.26076977,5.30940838,5.07294779,5.39249998,4.42170778,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[10.78536939,10.948861362,9.44475501,8.87886663,8.08587775,7.15899201],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[0.23,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[6.26076977,5.30940838,5.07294779,5.39249998,4.42170778,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

Operational context

The Government of Ghana has been increasing investment in education through its 2017 policy on free access to senior high schools. As the policy initially excluded foreigners, engagement with the Government eventually allowed people of concern to UNHCR to benefit from the free access at par with Ghanaian nationals. UNHCR continues to advocate with the Ministry of Education for the inclusion of refugees to become a firm policy. 
In June 2018, the National Identification Authority (NIA) commenced the registration and issuance of the Ghana Card to nationals and permanent residents.  The NIA committed to issue the Ghana card to refugees towards the second half of 2019. Sensitization campaigns at refugee camps commenced in 2018.  
UNHCR continued to engage with the relevant Government ministries on Ghana’s outstanding pledge to accede to the two UN statelessness conventions.
Discussions are ongoing with the Government regarding the policy decision on the local integration of refugees, including legal pathways for protracted refugee groups in Ghana. In October 2018, a joint MoU between UNHCR, the Ghana Refugee Board and Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) was discussed.  The MoU will facilitate the issuance of five-year residence permits for refugees in Ghana possessing the required documentation and willing to locally integrate.

Population trends

At the end of December 2018 there were some 13,220 refugees and asylum-seekers in Ghana, of which 46.7% were women. The population of concern comprises of 37 nationalities, with the five largest countries of origin being Côte d'Ivoire (6,930 people), Togo (3,514 people), Liberia (735 people), Sudan (642 people) and the Arab Republic of Syria (242 people).
The majority of the refugees in Ghana fled Côte d’Ivoire as a result of the post electoral crisis in 2011. The number of Ivorian asylum-seekers who applied for asylum during 2018 reduced significantly compared to the previous years, due to improved conditions in the country of origin.
A total of 308 people of concern returned through facilitated voluntary repatriation during the reporting period. The Liberian government issued 352 out of 552 requested passports to locally integrated Liberians in Ghana, leaving 200 more passports to be issued.

Key achievements

During 2018, out of the 500 people of concern targeted for voluntary repatriation, 298 people repatriated to Côte d’Ivoire - a significant increase compared to 28 Ivoirians who repatriated in 2017. In addition eight refugees returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and two to Togo. 
With regards to education, the school feeding programme continued in all four camp-based primary schools, resulting in improved school attendance and retention rates. On the contrary, nurseries are not included in the Government programme, and therefore fall outside of the school feeding programme.
In 2018, a total of 202 camp-based and urban people of concern were enrolled in senior high school. 38 students of those enrolled successfully completed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in June 2018. For educational costs not absorbed by the Government, refugee families covered 25% while UNHCR absorbed 75%.
UNHCR’s contributions towards the enrollment of people of concern into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) have gradually been reduced. Contributions have decreased from 100% in 2015-2016, to 50% and 25% contribution in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Refugees are to cover all costs of NHIS cards by 2019. The annual cost of renewing an NHIS card is equivalent to approximately USD 6.
Majority of people of concern accessed national health care referral services without the direct support of UNHCR, and non-communicable diseases contributed to 74% of the referrals made to the secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare. UNHCR supported complementary bills for 94 vulnerable people of concern with critical medical conditions.
Following a socio-economic survey and wealth ranking exercise conducted in 2016, 536 camp based households were identified as being extremely poor. Out of this number, 515 households representing 96% received cash transfers through mobile money as at February 2018. By the end of December 2018, the total number of beneficiaries increased to 529, representing 98% of the total number of beneficiaries.

Unmet needs

A significant constraint to refugees’ self-reliance has been the limited allocation of funds for livelihoods programmes. The demand for assistance exceeds the available funds and therefore a system of prioritizing assistance has been adopted. To date, some 44% of the population are considered to be self-reliant.
Having inadequate source of income also impacts ability to access social services. Even though social services such as health and education for refugees have been integrated in state national services, systemic gaps continue to pose financial burdens on UNHCR’s operation.

Working environment

Ghana’s political and democratic stability was consolidated through the peaceful handover of power between administrations, following the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. It is expected that the new administration will maintain the current generous asylum space and the commitment towards legal local integration, out-of-camp approach and strengthening of self-reliance for refugees. Around 75 per cent of refugees hosted in Ghana are ECOWAS nationals. In addition, Ghana hosts a substantial number of Liberian and Nigerian migrant communities those also contribute to the state economy.
Since 2016, UNHCR in Ghana is piloting a multi-year protection and solutions Strategy for the Togolese refugees. In 2018-2019, the multi-year strategy will be widened to include broader objectives and all people of concern in Ghana. As such, UNHCR’s multi-year strategy will work towards the goal refugees in Ghana no longer being reliant on external assistance for basic needs by 2021, and refugees in protracted situations have an effective pathway to durable solutions.
UNHCR will remain in cooperation with the government and engaged in UN Country Team activities through regular meetings. The UNCT is committed towards system-wide coherence by adopting some of the principles and practices of the ’Delivering as One’ approach. Advocacy will continue to ensure that the needs of the people of concern are recognized in national and local development plans.

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Ensuring all people of concern are issued with individual identification and protection documents;
  • Enrolling all primary school age children, particularly those in the camps, in school;
  • Completing best interest determination (BID) processes for all unaccompanied and separated children in order to identify durable solutions in close coordination with the state stakeholders;
  • Conducting advocacy to ensure that people of concern are able to access services on  par with Ghanaians and thereby strengthening alternative-to-camp options;
  • Implementing local integration activities to achieve durable solutions for refugees in protracted circumstances. Around 1,500 Togolese and other protracted refugees will be supported in accessing alternative legal status either through naturalization or the acquisition of an indefinite residence status.
  • Activities related to voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugee will be achieved in particular among.
  • Eradicating statelessness in Ghana, through concrete steps taken in consultation with UNHCR’s Regional Office in Dakar, following the findings from a study in 2017 and a possible survey in 2018.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
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  • 05-JUL-2019
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  • 03-JUL-2019
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  • 30-JUN-2019

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