The changing nature of UK aid in Ghana

UK aid has been “mostly effective” at helping some of the poorest and most vulnerable in Ghana – but as the country works to become less reliant on aid, the UK should take care not to scale back its financial support too quickly.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 12 February 2020
  3. Type: Country portfolio review
  4. Subject: Country focus, Transitioning development partnerships
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Location: Ghana
  7. Lead commissioner: Tamsyn Barton
  8. SDGs covered:No poverty, Reduced inequalities, Partnerships for the goals, Good health and wellbeing, Quality education, Gender equality, Decent work and economic growth, Industry, innovation and infrastructure

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We published our review on the changing nature of UK aid in Ghana in February 2020 and made six recommendations. We’ve followed up on the government’s progress towards implementing our recommendations three times. Find out more on the ‘Further scrutiny’ tab.


Although still affected by significant poverty and inequality, Ghana is working to move “beyond aid” after achieving the status of lower-middle-income country in 2011. As Ghana’s economy transforms, the country’s development partnership with the UK is also changing. The UK has invested approximately £2.8 billion in bilateral aid in Ghana over the past two decades. Since 2011, the UK’s aid portfolio has been reoriented towards helping Ghana overcome its economic and governance challenges, and towards mobilising the resources to help Ghana finance its own development. At the same time, the UK has continued to finance education, health and social protection programmes in Ghana, but with less funding.

This country portfolio review assesses the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of all UK official development assistance (ODA) flows to Ghana relative to the UK’s following objectives:

  • Transforming Ghana’s economy: contributing to inclusive growth in Ghana so that the benefits from a growing economy are shared widely among the population.
  • Leaving no one behind: tackling extreme poverty and vulnerability in Ghana, including through addressing gender disparities.
  • Strengthening Ghanaian institutions: supporting Ghana in developing competent and sustainable institutions.
  • Transitioning the UK/Ghana partnership: managing transition away from a traditional aid relationship in a manner that safeguards past development gains.

Our review covers almost all UK ODA to Ghana from 2011 to 2019. It includes almost all bilateral aid from all UK government departments as well as the UK’s imputed share of multilateral aid to Ghana.


Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this review are:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 1: No poverty
  • Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
  • Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good health and well-being
  • Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality education
  • Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender equality
  • Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure



Published 20 May 2019

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 12 February 2020

Government response

Published 25 March 2020

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 9 July 2020

ICAI follow-up

Published 23 June 2021

Further follow-up

Published 30 June 2022

Third follow-up

Published 18 July 2023