Ghana’s President pledges to build on economic progress of 2017

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President Akufo-Addo of Ghana

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said efforts to stabilize the economy are beginning to yield results as the rate of debt-growth slowed while the government exceeded targets for keeping spending under control.

The West African nation wants to avoid another bailout from the International Monetary Fund after the current credit facility ends this year, Akufo-Addo, 73, told lawmakers Thursday in the capital, Accra.

Ghana’s budget deficit probably narrowed to 5.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2017 from an earlier estimate of 6.3 percent, and reforms in the administration of procurement and taxes are boosting income, he said.

Annual debt growth slowed to 13.6 percent in 2017 from 36 percent, he said. The economy expanded by 7.9 percent in 2017 from 3.6 percent the year before and will accelerate further this year, he said.

 

“The relatively strong performance of 2017 will support the completion of our IMF program. We are determined to ensure irreversibility of sustained macroeconomic stability.” said Akufo-Addo, “

Under the government of former President John Mahama, Ghana was forced to turn to the IMF in April 2015 for an almost $1 billion bailout as spiraling debt and high inflation pushed the currency into freefall.

Akufo-Addo pledged to halt overspending and reverse the crisis, which caused nationwide energy shortages and dented investor confidence.

Ghana is the world second-largest cocoa producer, behind neighboring Ivory Coast, and produces the most gold on the continent after South Africa.

The government will continue to invest in agriculture to boost food crops and also intends to encourage fisheries, Akufo-Addo said.

Suzan O.