Big IMF Changes on the Cards for Ghana

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) recently released a report detailing the costs of remittances from Ghanaians abroad. And, the news is sad indeed. In Europe, it’s possible to pay as much as €6 for transfers up to €50. That’s steep no matter how you dice it – and it makes it difficult for families on either side to reap the benefits of time spent working abroad.

Perhaps soon, it will be easier for Ghanaians to stay in the country and still enhance their economic standing. At the moment, the country is ranked fourth on the continent as an investment destination. And, Accra certainly surpasses cities such as Lagos and Luanda. That doesn’t mean that the money will come rolling in fast; economic development always takes longer than promises and reports suggest. But, it will stimulate spending.

None of this is really news though, is it?

The removal of 50,000 ghost names from the government’s payroll is, however, a big deal. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed this in the process of their fourth review of the Ghanaian fiscal policies. The reduction in numbers from the payroll has a lot to do with the employment of biometric registration, which Germany assisted to fund. That country is also committed to assisting Ghana in other ways, such as the establishment of e-waste recycling facilities. And, hopefully, some of the investment will come in to the energy sector, which the IMF cites as a significant burden to Ghana’s growth.

However, the IMF predicts a terrific end of the year for Ghana. According to IMF representative, Analisa Fedelino, “Economic prospects in 2017 are encouraging, inflation is declining and prospects are there for a significant increase in the foreign exchange position following significant foreign exchange inflows in recent weeks. The authorities’ initiatives are promising.”

And, if you’re looking for proof of that, Ghana’s government plans to end their three-year loan arrangement with the IMF on time next year. There are plenty of critics, citing goals that have not yet been achieved, but there are also those that believe a commitment to self-development is the best thing for the country.

But, while the experts talk about whether money should be borrowed, spent, invested, or loaned, that doesn’t mean life on the ground has changed dramatically for Ghanaians. Those abroad still worry about how to send money – and those at home need to worry about gangs and jobs.

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