Strategic sanitation planning in project replication : the Kumasi experience


Context and stakes

Kumasi, located 300 km north-west of Accra (the capital city), is the second largest city in Ghana and the capital of the Ashanti Region. The metropolitan area covers 150 km2 and is made up of four districts. Kumasi has been the crossroads between the northern and southern sections of Ghana since its establishment as the heart of the Ashanti Empire around the turn of the eighteenth century. The city is now a budding industrial center. Kumasi's services and infrastructure have also deteriorated over the lean years of Ghana's economic development. Roads, water, environmental sanitation and lately community upgrading is receiving urgent intervention.

Kumasi has a unique housing pattern with well-defined contiguous sectors. This feature lends itself to sanitation planning and four sanitation planning areas have been identified; tenement, indigenous, new government, and high cost. These have been defined on the basis of predominant housing characteristics and spatial continuity. This attribute of Kumasi was relied on in the initiation of a demand-driven strategic sanitation approach for Kumasi. Kumasi is the forerunner to the adoption of the strategic sanitation planning process owing mainly to the involvement of the World Bank's Regional Water and Sanitation Group (RWSG-WA) in the execution of the UNDP/KMA-Kumasi Sanitation Project (KSP). KMA with the assistance of RWSG-WA produced a Strategic Sanitation Plan for Kumasi (SSP-Kumasi) for the period 1990-2000. The SSP-Kumasi has been reviewed in line with the principles of startegic sanitation planning, and the current SSP-Kumasi is for the period 1996-2005.

The basic tenets of SSP-Kumasi are that priorities change over time and strategies will be refined as experience is gained. Accordingly, the SSP is to be updated regularly. This iterative process makes planning dynamic with the changing aspirations of beneficiaries and evolving government inclinations and policies. The intent is to consider a range of proven technologies recognizing resource constraints, and paying due attention to willingness and capacity of users to pay for improved services.

Kumasi's unique experience with this approach made it the choice for the preparatory workshop for the inception of the Urban IV Project which was organised by the RWSG-WCA (Abidjan). The preparatory workshop itself is recognised as a major event in the strategic sanitation planning cycle.

The Urban IV project formulation for Kumasi (as well as four other main municipalities of Ghana) and implementation strategies was influenced by the SSP-Kumasi experience and will be illustrated in the following sections.


Objectives of the action

The objectives of the Urban IV project are as follows:

to improve productivity and raise the living standards in the Kumasi metropolis, especially for lower-income people, by improving drainage, sanitation, and solid waste services;

to promote the establishment of better institutional and financing mechanisms and more effective policy frameworks so that improvements are sustained over time;

to build capacities of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly departments to manage environmental sanitation services and;

private sector development, by inducing private sector participation in various waste collection and sanitation services.


Description of the action

The Urban Environmental Sanitation Project (UESP), Urban IV Project, is part of the World Bank's Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Ghana. The project was identified as a result of the Urban Development Strategy Review conducted by the Government of Ghana and the World Bank. In 1993-94. The Review involved a series of seminars with representatives of central and local institutions involved in the sector. The project covers Ghana's five main cities of Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi -Takoradi, Tema and Tamale. For Kumasi the project involves interventions in:

storm drainage;

sanitation (household, schools and public facilities, septage treatment and sewerage rehabilitation);

privatisation of solid waste services and development of sanitary landfills;

community infrastructure upgrading for four deprived areas of Kumasi;

institutional strengthening and capacity building.

The project's development involved client consultations and participation and project preparation workshops, which identified priority areas for intervention.

The project scope for Kumasi, particularly, the sanitation and solid waste management components were derived from the SSP-Kumasi (1996-2005). The strategies for implementing a home latrine promotion programme for households and the concept of franchise or "affermage" was also derived form the successful franchise management of public toilets in Kumasi initiated as part of the Kumasi Sanitation Project.

Responsibilities of each actor:

The concept of decentralisation is central to the institutional and political structures for administration and governance in Ghana. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the Local Government Act 1993, Act 462 in line with the vision of decentralisation place municipalities (categorised into district, municipal and metropolitan depending on population) as the pivot for local development and as such assign oversight of all municipal services under district assemblies purview. The decentralisation policy's main point, of transferring some state responsibilities, functions and activities, with appropriate financial, staff and technical resources to district assemblies (DAs) requires strengthening and capacity building of the technical institutions responsible for the delivery of urban infrastructure services. Under the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, Act 561, not less than 5% of total government revenues are to be passed on to municipalities. This act has increased the ceiling of projects previously handled by municipalities and towns.

In line with Government of Ghana's decentralisation policy and the increasing fiscal thresholds assigned to the Kumasi Assembly's management, the SSP-Kumasi (1996-2005) recognises the added responsibilities of the KMA. One important aspect of Urban IV in which the replication of SSP-Kumasi concepts is significant is the franchise of sold waste management services. Under the Kumasi Sanitation Project, the management of public toilets were franchised based on the French concept of "affermage". There was marked improvement of these facilities under private franchisees. Under the Urban IV Project, the concept of franchise management of solid waste management is to be implemented.



The Urban IV project is on going and scheduled targets are achievable. For example, Kumasi has achieved conctruction of 200 units of household facilities within 6-months as against the 2001 target of 1,700. The dynamics of strategic sanitation planning has been applied under the household latrine programme. Under the Kumasi Sanitation Project (1989-94) beneficiaries were assisted with loans if upfront-payment of 20% was fulfilled. Although loan recovery was satisfactory (75% and more), the management cost of this recovery effort implied that the real recovery is in the range of 50%. Under the Urban IV project, this realization brought about an adjustment in procedures.

Beneficiaries (households) make 50% contributions towards household facilities while the project supports households with a grant of 50%. Households' indicate their commitment by initiating construction up to 25% (or more) cost of the facility before the release of project grant. In this manner the demand-driven requirement of SSP-Kumasi is achieved.

The drainage, Community infrastructure upgrading, landfill and septage treatment facilities development and privatization of solid waste are at various stages. The drafting and finalization of a Franchise Agreement for solid waste management as against the more familiar traditional contract agreements was very challenging. More so, where the agreement should be accommodated within the stipulates of the Local Government Act, Act 462.

Strong points of the experience:

One of the main achievements of the Urban IV Project is the shifting of identification and implementation responsibilities on municipalities. The process of client consultation and project preparation workshops have accelerated Urban IV Project schedules compared to earlier urban projects. The use of Strategic Sanitation Plans previously prepared by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly in needs assessment place the project as the city's own. Capacity building and required 10% contribution by the municipality is also inducing a planned approach to project financing by the KMA.

The larger civil works components of Urban IV are delivered by consultants and contract managed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, however, each stage of a consultants output follows a presentation and deliberation by the KMA and require a "no-objection" from the Assembly.

Problems/lessons learned:

One major problem is the 10% contribution to be provided by KMA and other assemblies. That level of financing is beyond KMA's traditional revenue sources. The participating assemblies like KMA are being bailed out by allocation from the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) which is a central government's revenue source. In future projects requiring substantial inputs by the KMA (and other assemblies), levels of contribution should be linked to achievable targets of traditional revenue allocations by the cities.

Another concern, which needs addressing, is the contract award threshold set by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, for Tender Boards like that of the KMA. The levels are comparatively lower than a number of Urban IV project component's cost, such that while management oversight of the Community Infrastructure Upgrading component, as an example, is KMA's responsibility, the award of contract and payments is at the sector ministry. The review of thresholds set by the Ministry of Finance should solve this problem since with the infusion of more capital from government sources (the DACF) most Tender boards are operating beyond set limits.


Perspectives and impacts

The follow-up to this project may cover community infrastructure upgrading in more low-income and deprived areas of Kumasi, as without doubt sustainable development and its' impact are more appreciable if community involvement and maintenance management roles are enhanced. The direct involvement of cities in project identification, planning and execution as in Urban IV supports the government's decentralisation policy. Capacity building has also helped Kumasi in the preparation of a Five-Year Development Plan (KMA-FYDP:1996-200) and thus will shorten future project preparation schedules.



Contact Lukman Salifu, Sanitary Engineer, Urban IV Project, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly; PO Box 1916 Kumasi (Ghana). Tel.: (233) 51 24304/24497. Fax: (233) 51 26725. E-Mail:


Possible courses of action 1, 2, 3 and 6

Localisation: Kumasi, Ghana
Domain of intervention: drinking water distribution, sanitation
Area of intervention: urban areas, underprivileged urban areas
Duration: from June 1996 to July 2002