Trust be Key – Exploring Pathways to Formalisation in Ghana’s E-Waste Sector

Cover Trust be Key
Kumi, Ebenezer; Morton Hemkhaus, Sophia Hibler, Prince Boateng und Isabell von Falkenhausen 2021: Trust be Key. Exploring Pathways to Formalisation in Ghana’s E-Waste Sector. Berlin: adelphi.

The majority of e-waste in Ghana is largely managed by the informal sector. While these activities generate value and provide livelihoods for the many workers, it adversely affects public health and the environment. To address this, the government of Ghana has introduced legislation requiring informal workers to formalise by registering with state authorities and move under the legal ambit of the law. As part of a project consortium financed by the European Commission's SWITCH Afrika Green program, adelphi supports the effective implementation of this legislation by supporting the formalisation of informal stakeholders, establishing a nation-wide collection mechanism, conducting trainings and capacity building programs and providing decision-support to decision makers through dialogue events, studies and policy briefs.

This study explores existing partnerships between formal and informal actors in Ghana, identifies good practices, highlights learning opportunities and provides recommendations on formalisation at national level. Extensive literature review and qualitative interviews with 13 initiatives operating at the crossroads of formal and informal e-waste management in Ghana as well as five in-depth case studies form the basis for this study. Additional insights on management practices were collected from stakeholders who are operating in the waste management sector and who work together with informal workers in Ghana. Based on this research, a number of recommendations to public and private stakeholders as well as to the civil society were developed.

The main challenges for formal-informal partnerships in Ghana mostly relate to the provision of adequate levels of funding and access to finance for operations, competition with other companies and the informal sector. Business illiteracy and mutual mistrust between business partners are also common problems. Based on this analysis, a set of recommendations was developed that cover the most crucial aspects in the sector.