According to the Bank of Ghana the country’s export earnings during the first three quarters of 2010 improved on the back of strong increases in volume and prices of gold and cocoa.
It said exports registered a growth of $1.7 billion (40.4%) to $5.9 billion while imports increased by $2 billion (34.0%) in year-on-year terms to nearly $8 billion.
The trade balance for the first nine months of the year therefore worsened by$332 million, due mainly to increased imports.
However, ICT constitutes a mere 0.1% of the country’s total exports, according to the Legatum Prosperity Index 2010.
The Legatum Institute, publishers of the Index says on its website that the Legatum Prosperity Index is the world’s only global assessment of wealth and wellbeing; unlike other studies that rank countries by actual levels of wealth, life satisfaction or development, the Prosperity Index produces rankings based upon the very foundations of prosperity those factors that will help drive economic growth and produce happy citizens over the long term.
Ghana has an overall ranking of 90 among 110 countries. The Index says registered innovative activity is very low in Ghana. Research and Development (R&D) expenditure constitutes just 0.3% of GDP and royalty receipts from overseas are negligible, adding that only 0.1% of Ghana’s exports come from the ICT sector, placing the country 99th on this variable.
However, the Index says subjective assessments of the entrepreneurial environment are positive, with almost four-fifths of respondents to a 2009 survey believing the area where they lived to be a good place to start a new business.
This is despite average business start-up costs of 26% of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. Infrastructure for entrepreneurship is also lacking.
According to the Index less than half of the population owns a mobile telephone, internet bandwidth capacity is poor, and the number of secure internet servers per capita is low.
While group-based inequality in economic development in Ghana is only slightly below the international average, 97% of people believe that hard work will get you ahead, indicating that Ghanaians perceive their country to be meritocratic, the Index adds.
The Index uses the terms ‘international’, ‘global’, or ‘world’ to reference the 110 Prosperity Index countries, which represent approximately 93% of the world’s population and 97% of global GDP.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi