It has been a rough year for African economies, indeed all emerging market economies. Currencies faced a battle from the moment that the much awaited Fed action took place. And, although there are plenty of other areas where Ghana shines above the African competition – such as the ever dwindling AIDS prevalence rates – the economy is one area that Ghana can truly be proud.
While the Ghanaian cedi – like all African currencies – took a dive at the beginning of the year, it has come back strong. Although it hasn’t yet reached the exchange rate that it boasted last year, it has stabilised, which is more than many other African states can claim. More than that, the cedi has actually gained a bit of ground against the dollar and the pound. For the past six years, Ghana has boasted a 6% growth rate which is fairly impressive, though the decline in the cedi’s buying power has impacted the local economy this year. It is Ghana’s reliance on imports for almost all of its consumer needs. But, if the powers that be (and those that hope to be) have any say in the matter, that is soon to change.
In the category of those that hope to take power, the leader of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo recently met with the newly appointed Japanese ambassador. While meeting at Akufo –Addo’s home, Karoru Yoshimura and the former Ghanaian Attorney General revealed his plan to transform the country into a vibrant market economy – if elected president that is. Akufo-Addo praised the workings of the Asian economies and spoke of the nearness of the economic models to his own heart and plans for Ghana. Given the importance of such a visit, it’s clear that the NPP candidacy still holds some sway.
But, clearly, the economy is in the hearts and minds of the incumbent powers too. The current Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is clearly thinking about how to transform the economy. He recently delivered a speech where he shared his vision for a transformed Ghana through the success of its entrepreneurs. And, Ghana is jumping on board with Global Entrepreneurship Week. It is a global campaign though Spio-Garbrah is pleased to get Ghanaian entrepreneurs involved between 17 and 23 November 2014. This year’s theme clearly ties in with Akufo-Addo’s vision too: “Harnessing Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Policies that Produce.”
However, it may still be government-driven big business that leads the way. There is talk of Ghana Vodacom listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE). There is plenty of discussion over the matter though, as this could make it difficult for start-ups in Ghana to gain a foothold in the communications industries. But, no matter what happens, it is really it is all about development, isn’t it? And Ghana is clearly leading the continent.