Briefing Paper

Access to Basic Public Services: Challenges Ghana must Overcome

This study aimed to contribute to a better understanding of the gaps in access to basic services and to make recommendations in the areas requiring urgent policy intervention. The paper examined key survey evidence, in this regard, which provides useful insight on the level of access relating to three basic services: water, sanitation and healthcare. The results suggest that, while some progress has been made, a lot needs to be done as a considerable proportion of Ghana’s population still lacks access to basic services. The findings further indicate that there are wide gaps between rural and urban residents in terms of service access – with the former experiencing significantly less access. More work is required to better determine the nature of these gaps in order to improve policy formulation. Poverty reduction can be approached from different perspectives, yet access to basic services forms an integral part of poverty alleviation; its consequent effects on the economic productivity of a country and the well-being of its citizens are significant. This paper, therefore, argues that addressing gaps in access to basic services should be an urgent policy priority. Further, given that inequality is an issue that hampers the access to services, policies aimed at reducing income/social inequalities, as well as ensuring growth effects are well distributed, should also be at the top of the policy agenda.