Clara-Osei Boateng

COVID-19 as a looking glass to Ghana’s structural inequalities and mounting distrust in politics

This study is part of our research programme Equity in COVID-19 and looks how Ghana’s most vulnerable have been affected by the COVID-19 responses by state and nons-state actors.

Led by Clara-Osei Boateng.

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About the research

COVID-19 hit Ghana in a context of heightened political polarization (due to the upcoming December elections) and has exposed the country’s structural inequalities in terms of access to basic services (e.g. water and education) and political representation. The politicking by political parties has furthermore exacerbated the mistrust of citizens in political institutions. Within this context specifc groups of people have shown to be particularly vulnerable due to the intersectionality of inequalities. By adopting a multidimensional wellbeing approach we will shed light on how Ghana’s most vulnerable have been affected.

Planned activities

The research will adopt the following analytical framework:

We have translated this analytical framework into the following research phases:

  1. Socio-economic and political context analysis (focusing on the state of the economy, inequality and legitimacy of political institutions in Ghana).
  2. Mapping of Covid-19 mitigation responses (by (national, regional, local) state and nonstate actors) paying specifc attention to the North-South divide.
  3. Identifcation of specifcally vulnerable groups for in-depth case-studies of social and spacial equity issues in times of COVID-19 leading to the selection of head-porters (Kayaye), residents of Chokor and market women in Bolgatanga.
  4. Equity Assessment (in formulation and implementation) of identifed policies/programmes: how have they affected the material, relational, subjective and collective wellbeing of the specifc groups mentioned in phase 3 (in the short and long term)?

Data Collection Methods: we will employ document analysis and key informant interviews to gather relevant information.


Our objective is to analyze the impact of COVID-19 responses of state and non-state actors on the wellbeing of Ghana’s poor and vulnerable. Wellbeing is multidimensional as well as relational, with individual wellbeing being interrelated with the wellbeing of the collective. Our analysis will therefore include the following dimensions of wellbeing:

  • Material wellbeing operationalised as work and income as well as access to basic services (notably education, water and electricity).
  • Relational wellbeing operationalised as social relations and social capital.
  • Subjective wellbeing operationalised as the subjective evaluation of ones quality of life (prior and post COVID-19).
  • Collective wellbeing operationalised as political empowerment.
Country focus
  • Ghana