The euphoria surrounding Ghana’s president-elect Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo election victory will be short-lived unless he revives the economy, according to analysts. It was third time lucky for the 72-year old veteran politician after previously failing to win the presidency in 2008 and 2012.
However, whether his luck will continue throughout his leadership will be dependent on his ability to turn around Ghana’s ailing economy and create an environment conducive to job creation, according to Professor Peter Quartey, Head of the Economics Department at the University of Ghana.
“To effectively executive its job creation agenda, the new government must consciously pursue policies that would get the private sector back on track once again in a more vibrant way,” he said. “But simply getting the private sector back on track would not be enough for the sector to create the needed jobs, thus the incoming government should work to reduce the cost of credit and take a second look at the high taxation that has seen most companies becoming uncompetitive whilst some are folding up”
Ghana’s economic growth has declined sharply, from a record high of 14% in 2011 to 3.9% in 2015, according to World Bank data. The slump was caused by the global decline in key export commodity prices such as oil, gold and cocoa, and a three-year-long electricity crisis, which has crippled industry and forced some factories to shut down.
The economic challenges facing Ghana forced the government to seek a $1bn bailout from international lenders earlier this year. Ghanaians have also seen the cost of living increase due to unstable inflation figures, which peaked at 19.2% in March 2016, before falling to 16.7% in July, then climbing up again to 17.2% in September, according to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). In October the country saw inflation dip back somewhat to 15.8%.
Meanwhile, unemployment among Ghanaians aged between the ages of 15-24 stands at 48 percent according to figures from the World Bank. The incoming government will have to turn around the struggling economy by also making tough decisions, according to Accra-based Investment banker, Sampson Akligoh of InvestCorp.
“it is important the incoming administration aligns the economy to real growth, lower taxes, effect timely payment of statutory funds and other payment areas,” he said. “Nana Addo’s government should also allow the private sector to compete more equally in order to foster growth and create more jobs for the teeming youth of the country.”
Akufo-Addo’s victory was surprising because of the margin of victory. The president-elect garnered 53.83% whilst President Mahama, the incumbent, only achieved 44.4% of the vote. The jubilant celebrations that greeted Akufo-Addo victory across the length and breadth of the country spoke volumes about the huge expectations in the new government. But the election victory has quickly been tempered as Ghanaians await for the new president to be sworn in on January 7 after a one-month transition period.
Eric Kwame Amesimeku