Ghana has been called 'the Gateway to Africa' and Wikipedia's Ghana article even states that:
"The economy of Ghana has a diverse and rich resource base, and as such, has one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa"
Apparently, Wiki along with alot of others have their facts wrong.
Why is the average Ghanaian poorer now that they were a few years ago? Why is there no manufacturing here? Why is the country still heavily dependent on remittances from Ghanaians abroad, and on the macro level from various Governments and NGOs?
The sad news today is that Forbes have published this year's list of the WORLD'S WORST ECONOMIES. And our beloved Ghana, the star of Africa is on that list.
Forbes clarifies the criteria for their selection as follows:
"All the countries on this list have at least one trait in common: Their governments discourage private investment--and economic growth--through policies of crony capitalism, expropriation or arbitrary enforcement of the laws. That makes it difficult to generate hard currency to pay off government debt and discourages citizens from investing in education to improve their own economic lot."
This does not sound like the Ghana that is promoted by the development community and the politicians alike. This does not sound like the Ghana my fellow bloggers embrace and adore. This sounds like the harsh reality of numbers. The fact that corruption, at the end of the day, cannot be hidden completely. This sounds like the day of reckoning, when all the political dogma and happy clappy optimism flies out the window and is replaced by cold hard facts.
Here is the description of Ghana from Forbes article:
"GDP per capita: $671
Inflation rate: 16%
Bauxite, the world's largest manmade lake, a 1-gigawatt hydroelectric plant and now offshore oil. Ghana's got it all, except a functioning economy. Persistent electricity shortages have sidelined the massive Valco aluminum smelter and the government of Ghana must privatize several money-losing state-owned enterprises to reduce its budget deficits, which run close to 10% of GDP. Oil revenues are expected to flow next year from offshore fields, being developed by Anadarko Petroleum and others. Perhaps the government will use the money to stabilize its finances instead of launching another spending binge."
Ghana is accompanied by countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone, ravaged by decades long civil wars, and Zimbabwe - a country crippled under the world's most evil dictator. 9 out of the 10 countries are African.
I was surprised to see Ghana on such a list. Afterall, we've had decades of peaceful leadership, numerous democratic elections, natural resources in abundance - from bauxite to gold and now oil... What is Ghana's excuse?
The overwhelming message from this report to Ghana is simple mismanagement. The problems, it states, are mostly homegrown. We can't blame the world for our troubles Ghana - this embarassing state of affairs must be dealt with and faced. Otherwise, next year's oil payload will most definitely lead to more greed and mismanagement, and Ghana may slip further instead of shining as it should - as the star of this floundering continent...