Ghana can enhance its prosperity through governance reform

Ghana ranks 10th (-1 since 2009)

Ghana is among the top 10 most prosperous countries in Africa, with widely respected governance institutions and a well-educated population.

•            However, to sustain the pace of its economic growth, Ghana will need more economic openness, dynamism, and competitiveness.

•            Reform of governance is the key to reducing corruption, improving government effectiveness and upgrading the services and infrastructure needed to drive the economy to the next level.  

Ghana (ranked 10th) has become one of the most prosperous nations in Africa, built on a strong tradition of democratic stability, widely respected governance institutions, and a well-educated population, free from large-scale violence. With increased investment and tourism, Ghana’s economy has consistently outgrown sub-Saharan Africa.

The challenge for Ghana now is to sustain this economic success and convert it into better living standards. Many Ghanaians have seen rising inequality while their living standards and employment opportunities have not improved.

Most measures of Ghana’s economic performance have slipped over the last 10 years:  Ghana ranks 14th for economic openness; 33rdfor economic quality, 13th in investment environment and 16th in market access and infrastructure. There is work to do, to improve Ghana’s engines of prosperity: its economic openness, dynamism, and competitiveness.

For example, trading goods within and outside of the country is constrained by under-developed infrastructure, high tariffs, and long delays and high costs at the border. Further investment in fixed broadband, transport infrastructure, and reducing friction at borders is needed to facilitate and boost trade.

Reliability of the electricity supply and an upgrade of the transport network remain key challenges: roads are over-utilised and rail is under-utilised. Ghana’s rank for market access and infrastructure has slipped four places to 16th and for investment environment down three places to 14th.  Investor protections are also weakening, down 13 places to 28th and improvements are being held back by ongoing challenges to international investment and access to finance for businesses.

Dr Stephen Brien comments:

“Ghana has made giant strides towards economic openness and greater prosperity to stand amongst the leaders in Africa. The challenge for Ghana now is the sustainability of this economic growth. Can Ghana increase the pace of its economic transformation fast enough to build a solid platform for continued growth and employment opportunities across the country?

“To perpetuate its growth trajectory, reform of its governance is needed to increase labour force engagement and build market infrastructure, on which an open and dynamic economy depends.

“Corruption and clientelism remain a brake on improvement and efficiency. Reducing corruption and improving government effectiveness through a results-based culture is the key to the delivery of services, fiscal sustainability, and the new infrastructure that Ghana needs to thrive.”

Source: Legatum Institute

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