Mainstreaming sustainable development goals in Ghana’s energy sector within the framework of public–private partnerships: challenges, opportunities and strategies

De Graft Owusu-Manu, Thomas Kankam Adjei, David Mensah Sackey, David John Edwards, Reza M. Hosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper is anchored in a premise of a universal call to action by all UN member states in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030 within the blueprint of the sustainable development goals (SDGS). The purpose of this study is to mainstream the SDGs in Ghana’s energy sector within the framework of public–private partnerships (PPP): challenges, opportunities and strategies. Design/methodology/approach: Literature review was carried out to explore concepts, theories and frameworks for initiating PPP. Best local and international practices in the implementation of PPP projects; challenges and opportunities in the implementation of PPP projects, strategies for mainstreaming the SDGs in Ghana’s energy sector and assess business action in the implementation of the SDGs in Ghana’s energy sector. The study is situated within the social constructionist philosophical tradition. The qualitative research strategy was adopted as the main methodological choice. Interview guides were used to collect data from respondents in the Accra metropolis. Findings: Lack of a PPP policy law in Ghana, conflict of interest in PPP projects, excessive government control over projects, cumbersome licensing and legal regime and economic stability were the most significant challenges identified to PPPs. Technology transfer, efficiency gains and mobilization of additional resources for development on the government side where the opportunities for the private sector. Awareness creation, modeling inclusive business with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and SDGs, exploring business opportunities in SDGs such as carbon trading, aligning national policies with SDGs, establishing sustainability units and partnerships with relevant bodies were proposed for mainstreaming the SDGs in Ghana’s energy sector. Research limitations/implications: It was established from this study that indeed PPPs have a major role to play in unleashing all available forces and prospects toward achieving the SDGs. This paper is constrained to the energy industry in Ghana. It provides a theory-based direction on how companies in the energy sector can contribute to social and economic interventions through a framework of PPP framework within the SGDs. Future research may explore how companies in other sectors may contribute to the sustainability discourse. Practical implications: This will ultimately lead to additional funding to support government efforts in the implementation of SDGs, honing of sustainable (inclusive) business models, creating an enabling environment for PPPs toward inclusive growth and national development leaving no one behind. It recommended that there should be a national policy and law on PPPs and the private sector should be incentivized to engage government in PPPs implementation for the SDGs. Theoretically, this study contributes to the policy analysis discourse and scaling-up literature on the SDGs. Originality/value: This study explores the challenges associated with mainstreaming the SGDs in the energy sector from a public–private business perspective. It also offers a new policy, economic and legal regulatory framework that contributes to emerging trends. The outcome of the analyzes advocates for clear business strategies for implementation of the SDG apart from CSR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-624
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy sector
  • MDGs
  • Mainstreaming
  • Policy
  • Public–private
  • SDGs
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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