On 12th December 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reached a staff-level agreement with the Government of Ghana and subsequently in mid-May 2023 finally approved a US$3 billion by a three-year arrangement under an Extended Credit Facility on economic policies and reforms.
Ghana’s reform programme aims at restoring macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while protecting the vulnerable, preserving financial stability, and laying the foundation for strong and inclusive recovery, according to the IMF. This is the 17th time the country has been to the International Monetary Fund.
Ghana’s economic prospects have been a mixed bag of emotions in recent years. According to Bloomberg despite Ghana’s position as the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer, and first leading producer of gold among other natural resources including oil, its currency was adjudicated the worst performing currency (cedi) slumping to a more than 45% loss, the worst among over 140 currencies.
By December 2022, the Ghana cedi had depreciated by 55% against the United States Dollar, Ghana’s major trading currency. Similarly, Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio had reached 105% by the end of 2022 with Ghana defaulting on its external debt obligations, leading to the lowest ever downgrade of the economy by International Credit Rating Agencies. This has led to the country’s first-ever debt restructuring since independence.
According to the International Monetary Fund (2023) even though several external shocks in recent years have exacerbated Ghana’s pre-existing fiscal and debt vulnerabilities, decreasing international reserves, Cedi depreciation, rising inflation and plummeting domestic investor confidence, are what have triggered such an acute economic crisis.
Amidst all these, Ghanaian leaders enjoy a life of oligarchs; they drive V8s, live rent-free, and enjoy free coupon privileges. They send their children to Western-based Curriculum pretertiary schools here in Ghana and send them abroad for tertiary education and award contracts to themselves and their families.
Scarcity In The Midst Of Abundance
According to Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), about 1million children (aged 4 to 18) have never attended school, constituting 9% of the total age cohort population of 10, 589,615. According to the Ghana Statistical Service, another 400,000 children aged 4-18 who once entered school have dropped out.
Eduwatch and CDD-Ghana, in their assessment of the Education Sector Medium Term Development Plan (2018-2021), observed that most of the 5,400 schools under trees, sheds and dilapidated structures, and 4,000 primary schools without JHS were located in deprived rural regions. There are also public basic school pupils without desks about 2.3 million.
Again, to obtain a job in the public sector, we have normalized the convention that you have to pay not less than 10k to get into “even the not-so-enviable teaching profession”.
Quite several women survive on hookups, while some men rely on sports betting for their livelihood. To even get a place of your choice for your National Service you’ve to pay for Special Posting at a fee!
Should the Ghanaian public not be angry at officialdom about the state of the country, that the once gateway to the continent is now on its knees?
According to Manasseh Azure Awuni “Nearly seven years of the Akuffo Addo’s administration, there is consensus among the Ghanaians that his administration has not committed a quarter of the governance sins of Mahama era but has quadrupled them; and the fact that Ghana is still surviving speaks to the resilience of an endowed nation battered by indescribable greed, mismanagement and corruption”.
Yet, we don’t blame our leadership; instead, we leave it to GOD. The most driving force of politics and the reasons why citizens go to the polls is to see progress and development. Progress and development therefore cannot be achieved by wishful thinking; continued growth requires huge efforts and consistent attention towards achieving goals.
Maybe it is time for the Ghanaian people to be more aloud in their demand for accountability from people in power.