Ghana’s economy at “critical stage” in middle-income status – IMF

Independence squareThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that Ghana’s economy is at what it calls a critical stage of development.

In a 113-page report published late June 2013, the IMF noted that despite Ghana reaching a lower middle-income status, the economy still relies heavily on agriculture and natural resources and most jobs are in the informal sector.

According to the IMF staff report, Ghana’s concentration of exports on gold, cocoa and oil makes the economy “vulnerable to terms-of-trade shocks”.

The Fund notes “Ghana is at a critical stage in its economic development”.

The World Bank in July 2011 classified the economic status of Ghana as a low middle-income, moving from a lower income. This means the country has an average income of $1,006 to $3,975, according to the World Bank.

Although poverty and social indicators have improved significantly, the IMF report stated that about a quarter of the population still lives below the poverty line, and demographic trends will require the creation of six to seven million jobs in the next 20 years to absorb new entrants into the labour market.

The IMF urged the Ghanaian government to leverage the country’s strong governance and business environment and decisively tackle current growth constraints to diversify production toward manufacturing and higher-value agriculture.

It added that better infrastructure, improved access to credit, further investment in health and education, and sustained macroeconomic stability will be central to ensure Ghana’s continued robust and inclusive growth.

The IMF reports that Ghana’s risk of debt distress has risen, but remains moderate, provided the government successfully implements a sizeable fiscal adjustment.

By Ekow Quandzie

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