GHANA IS DETERMINED TO CLOSE the infrastructure gap with government committing resources to various projects while exploring alternative funding options, such as private-public partnerships, to make this possible. Electricity; water and sanitation; telecommunications; and roads and transport are the main areas of concentration.
The electricity industry involves the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy for industrial, commercial and domestic use in Ghana. In Ghana electricity is run by three utility companies: the Volta River Authority (VRA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo).
The VRAs primary function is to supply electrical energy and it is responsible for most of the generation of electricity in Ghana. The VRA supplies electricity in bulk to the Electricity Company of Ghana for distribution to consumers. However, the VRA also distributes power in its own right to Northern Ghana covering the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions through its subsidiary the Northern Electricity Department (NED) established in 1997.
Ghana's demand for electricity outstrips supply from the country's two hydro-generation stations. The shortfall is met by the development of thermal power systems. A 330MW combined cycle thermal plant commissioned at Aboadze near Takoradi in 1999, followed by an additional 220MW simple cycle thermal plant at the same site. A 110MW steam plant is planned to bring the total installed thermal generation capacity to 660MW.
The VRA and GRIDCo's transmission system is made up of 36 substations and approximately 4,000km of transmission lines linked in a circuitous loop covering the entire country. The transmission system is also interconnected with the national electricity grids of Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso.
VRA sells power to about seven major bulk customers. The major sale, in foreign currency terms, is made to the Volta Aluminum Company's (VALCO) smelter at Tema. The second major customer is the Electricity Company of Ghana, which is responsible for I distribution of the bulk of local electricity consumption throughout the southern part of the country. Bulk sales are also made to smaller industrial and mining consumers. VRA also exports to Togo and Benin and interchanges power with Cote d'Ivoire.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) of Ghana is an independent body set up to regulate and oversee the provision of the highest quality of electricity and water services to consumers.
Water and sanitation sector
Ghana's water sector is segmented into two parts, identified as the Urban Water and Community Water sectors.
The Urban Water sector comprises about 87 cities and towns where the national water utility--Ghana Water Company Ltd (GWCL)--owns and manages water supply. The sector is under the dual authority of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) and of the Ministry of Local Government (MLG). GWCL has contracted Aqua Vitens Rand of South Africa to operate its water system.
The Community Water sector deals with over 16,000 rural communities and some 287 small towns. Management of water supply is the responsibility of District Assemblies with facilitation and oversight role by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA). Municipal assemblies and districts are responsible for investment, operation and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure within the community water sector.
The Environmental Sanitation department covers both liquid and solid waste management and disposal. The sanitation sector is varied, covering very different types of waste, such as organic as well as inorganic and hazardous waste. Depending on the type of waste, different methods as regards collection, treatment...