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

International Development Committee

Parliament’s International Development Committee (IDC), or its ICAI sub-committee, hold hearings on all ICAI reviews. The IDC hearing on our Ghana country portfolio review is available to watch online. The transcript is also available to read.

ICAI follow-up

Approximately one year after we publish our reports, we follow up on the steps the government has taken in response to our recommendations. This process is a key link in the accountability chain, providing Parliament and the public with an account of how well government departments have responded to ICAI reviews.

Our follow-up review found there has been reasonable progress on some of the issues raised. But overall, a combination of an initially vague response to some of our recommendations, delays due to contextual challenges and a reluctance to share documentation or briefings on ongoing strategic work by FCDO, means that it has not been possible to verify reported improvements. We have therefore scored the response to our recommendations as inadequate and will return to this review next year.

Read the follow-up review online or download the full report.

Further follow-up

Overall, the government response to three of the recommendations we revisited has been relevant and reasonable, considering the budget constraints. However, we found the government’s response to recommendation 6 – that the government should provide clear guidance on how UK aid resources should be used in implementing mutual prosperity objectives – to be inadequate.

As the priorities of the new international development strategy begin to be implemented, it is crucial that the risks to development objectives and the value for money entailed in the government’s integrated approach to aid, trade and investment are addressed, as well as the opportunities. We will return to this issue in next year’s follow-up exercise.

Read the further follow-up review.

Third follow-up

In interviews for the third follow-up review, FCDO noted that it is in the process of considering the case for guidance on secondary benefits. It is therefore not currently clear whether this recommendation will be addressed. Since this issue has been picked up in recommendations made by our recently published review on UK aid for trade, it will be pursued further through follow-up to that review.

Read the third follow-up review.



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