Development isn’t a rosy walk on a sunny day with the mountains ahead of you and the glistening blue of the sea just behind you. It would be nice if it were. But, it’s not. Developing a country to high international standards is hard work. And, although countries like Ghana should be smiling with natural resources, it’s not easy to deal with the pressures of the international community while maintaining the individuality of a state. You can ask anyone in Ghana, development is a necessary difficulty.
It’s always about finding solutions. Every day, there is a new challenge to solve. Sometimes it’s electricity. Sometimes it’s about finding work and keeping jobs. Sometimes it’s about supplying clean water to remote areas. And sometimes, it’s a declining currency linked to strong dollar and US Fed policies. In April 2015, it appears to be all of these things.
That power issue is causing havoc, but it is also paving the path for solutions that no one would have considered a few years back. Coworking spaces are beginning to crop up in Accra, offering entrepreneurs and freelancers and opportunity to do what only big business has been able to manage before now. Sharing spaces and resources means they can minimise their overheads and get new businesses off the ground.
Throw in a generator that can power laptops and fuel high-speed internet connections, and you have a workforce that can power through. (And, these coworking spaces are known for continual generation of new ideas and solutions. You might want to look at Hub Accra or iSpace if this all sounds good to you.)
Big companies are suffering though, and that does have an impact on the economy. Indeed, it’s something when Guinness is clutching at straws to maintain their workforces after similar manufacturers have had to let people go. There’s a combination of issues at play in these decisions. It could be the stronger dollar (or rather, the weaker cedi). It’s also the electrical shortages. And many complain that it’s mismanagement at government level. (Remember hearing about the luxury cars bought with funds destined for the development of the electricity grid?) Perhaps it is – and that’s what the IMF loan hopes to solve.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has signed off on a $918 million bailout. It won’t come all at once, mind you. And, it will be spread over the next few years. But the IMF has stipulations tied to their loans. Transparency regarding government spending is one of them. If the money is mismanaged, there will be repercussions. Unfortunately, there is also an election on the cards for Ghana which means that bungled use of the dispersed money now could pose problems if the incumbent government isn’t re-elected. Then again, it is a short-term solution, and it could be a good one. Just look at what these Ghanaian women are doing with far less than $918 million.