Boot for loos

The World Bank and the Kumasi Metropolitan Authority (KMA) in Ghana are moving ahead on a $3.2m project to find contractors who can bid for build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) contracts to build or rehabilitate clean, convenient and safe public toilets for 20,000 people.

Kumasi has 2m inhabitants and the population is growing at 5.4% a year. It is estimated that 58% of households do not have personal toilets so they share with others, use the 321 public toilets or other less sanitary methods  with risk of public health disaster. Although traditionally public toilets are financed through municipal budgets, the Government is investigating ways to get the private sector and other non-state actors involved to finance and operate viable public services.

The municipality has enlisted expert help to improve the previously badly-managed build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects and set up a better system for using public-private partnership (African PPP) to manage public toilets.

A pre-feasibility study by the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), attached to the World Bank Group, and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) suggested that the capital costs would need to be subsidized in order to keep it attractive to private operators and affordable to low-income households. There is subsidy from the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA) subsidy to provide this social infrastructure improvement.

The project financing will come from the $30m Adaptable Program Loan for the Ghana Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association. USAID may provide further funds.

The $3m will be spent on subsidizing the cost of converting 70 public toilet facilities to water closet technology (demolish existing and build new) and rehabilitation of existing 38 public toilets that use water closet technology but need renovation, for a total of 108 toilets (over $27,750 for each toilet).

KMA will compile lots of toilets that combine toilets in poor residential areas with toilets in more affluent places with high customer traffic that should cross-subsidize the low-income toilets. Bidders will submit business-plan proposals for one or more packages of toilets. The municipality will do final selection of bidders probably based on value for money, experience, ability to raise required capital, and other factors.

The remaining $200,000 is for independent verification including baseline and targets for operators applying for the grants to subsidize the capital costs. This will include checking the toilets meet technical standards set by Kumasi Municipality, and checking billing and revenue collection at facilities under operation and analyse socio-economic indicators.

  • NOTE – Africa PPP and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): According to the World Bank: “This project falls under Target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals: By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations. Under the newly approved target public toilet facilities are classified as ‘shared’ sanitation, i.e. sanitation facilities of acceptable type shared between two or more households and are tracked by the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Program: Public toilets. They, however, do not count toward the ‘safely managed’ or ‘basic’ sanitation that would count toward the goal. Nonetheless, the project is still of priority to the Government given the large population that it services.”