Ghana’s cost in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are going to be high and demanding, experts said here on Thursday.
In an exclusive interview, Patrick Apoyah, a Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) expert, told Xinhua the West African country needed to invest between 500 million and 600 million U.S. dollars annually over the next 13 years to meet the SDGs on the WASH sector alone.
“I can tell you it will be more than four times the requirements that we were pursuing under the previous MDGs. So we are talking of more than 500 million dollars or 600 million dollars per annum if we really want universal coverage for every Ghanaian to get water by 2013; that is the reality of our situation,” he stated.
For the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in December 2015, the country required between 200 million dollars and 300 million dollars per annum for 10 years to achieve the goals under the old standard, with Ghana achieving 89 percent water coverage and 15 percent for sanitation.
Apoyah, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Sky Fox Group International, said the situation required a strong political will from government and other stakeholders to invest since the country’s Lower Middle Income (MIC) status had resulted in a dwindling development assistance to the country.
With the new targets, he said the country would need to work harder than it did under the MDGs to meet the targets.
Under the MDG targets, households needed water to be within 500 meters radius but the SDGs want the water and sanitation facilities source within people’s premises.
“Therefore, if you were drilling boreholes based on 500 meter criteria, and our coverage is as high as 89 percent, now if you use this new development standard that the world has agreed on today, our 89 percent will fall to 20 percent.
“Sanitation, even under the MDGs, which used very relaxed standards, we are 15 percent. If you apply the new Sustainable Development Goal standards, we will fall back to close to zero,” he pointed out.
The stakeholders were speaking to Xinhua on the sides of a three-day capacity building workshop organized for Civil Society Organizations in Ghana by IRC, a Dutch knowledge-based organization for the WASH sector.
The International Advocacy expert for IRC, Ellyn Walter, who facilitated part of the training, noted that advocacy would be key in helping West African countries to achieve their SDG targets.
“I will say globally and also specifically here in West Africa you have the challenge around who is responsible for achieving sustainability, operational maintenance, changing the system that is in place which is extremely difficult and so in order to change the system, there has to be the recognition that the system is currently not working.”
“So Advocacy plays a key role. One key evidence is available; making sure that they know where the problem is and then working towards the solution,” she stressed.
Veronica Ayi-Bonte, Project Coordinator for IRC Ghana, said governance was one key issue to determine the success of the country’s SDG campaign.
“We also recognize that governance is really important for sustainability of the facilities because beyond providing facilities or whatever it is, it is the governance structures that run the system,” Ayi-Bonte explained. Enditem