We’ve fixed Mahama’s poor economy, says President Akufo-Addo Featured

By Nana Yaw Dwamena November 12, 2019 936 11 comments

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says his government has succeeded in turning around the poor fundamentals of Ghana’s economy, which he inherited from the Mahama administration, ensuring that, currently, all the fundamentals are pointing in the right direction.

“We inherited a situation with a large fiscal deficit, which has been turned around now; considerable imbalances in the way in which our economy was being run have also been turned around; a 15.4 per cent inflation is today at 7.6 per cent, the lowest in two decades. These are the building blocks for us,” he stated.

The consequences of this turnaround, he explained, have been that, “in these three years, we have had one of the fastest growing economies not just on the continent, but also in the world, with this year being a 7.6 per cent growth. It has been consistent over these last three years.”

The President said this yesterday when he spoke, as part of a panel, including President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, at the African Investment Forum’s “Invest in Africa’s Space” event, currently ongoing in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Fiscal discipline

Reiterating his determination to maintain fiscal discipline, President Akufo-Addo stated that “this has been our major objective, and so far so good we are realizing this.”

Despite 2020 being an election year, the President told the Forum, made up of investors from across the world: “we are resisting the temptation, in an election year, to turn on the tap, hoping that the work we have done will take us through, without having to do that.”

Touching on the development of infrastructure on the continent and in Ghana, he stated that his Government is paying a lot of attention to the development of the country’s roads, railways and airport infrastructure.

“In fact, last year, an important initiative launched, which is bearing fruit, is the Accra SkyTrain project in which South African investors are taking a very keen interest. We are hoping that we would be able to advance that concept this year,” he said.

Agriculture

The President added that the transformation of Ghanaian agriculture is one his government has been focused, resulting in the institution of the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, which has seen a revival of Ghanaian agriculture.

“Planting for Food and Jobs has proven to be a spectacular success. First of all, in the way it is addressing the availability of food stuffs. We are now in the position, for the first time in over a decade, of exporting food stuffs to our neighbours. We are very keen in developing private sector interest, because Ghanaian agriculture is largely smallholder,” he added.

On the exploitation of Ghana’s considerable mineral resources, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that Ghana is keen on adding value to these resources, and desisting from exporting them in their raw form. “We are now trying to forge the policies to make it possible for these to be the subjects of investments,” he said.

Cocoa partnership

Responding to a question posed to him, President Akufo-Addo said the strategic partnership entered into between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, which is manifesting itself in joint cocoa production and marketing policy, is already paying dividends.

According to him, a Living Income Differential (LID) of UD$400 per tonne will be paid to farmers for all categories of cocoa beans from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, starting from the 2020/2021 crop season, when the two countries begin to apply a new price mechanism for the sale of cocoa at US$2,600 per tonne.

This policy, he said, has found support even from major chocolate producers like Mars, who recognise the need to make the cocoa industry sustainable.

Farmers first

With Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire responsible for 65 per cent of the world’s output of cocoa, and with the global chocolate industry worth some $100 billion industry, he noted that it is not right that the farmers, whose hard work and toil is responsible for growing the cocoa, to get only $6 billion for their effort.

“Very fortunately for me, the Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara, had the same point of view as myself. We found out that we have a mutual assessment of what was the reality, and the need for us to do something about the reality,” he said.

The President added, “As a result of talks in Abidjan and in Accra, we came to a mutual understanding as to what we needed to do, which was fuse the production and marketing policies of our two countries, COCOBOD and Conseil du Café-Cacao. They are insisting that, in future, we will enter the market at a certain basic floor price, and hold that price, and, then, out of it, find the opportunity to increase the earnings of our farmers.”

As a result, he told the gathering, the two countries now have an opportunity to pay their farmers a $400 bonus, called the Living Income Differential per tonne, and enhance the incomes of their cocoa farmers, so that they get more out of this $100 billion industry.

Thanks to AfDB

President Akufo-Addo thanked the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is supporting Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to enhance their infrastructure in the cocoa industry, by helping secure greater capacity for warehousing, enhance processing of the raw material, and, therefore, be able to participate in the higher end of the value chain.

“The end result of all of this will be a considerable enhancement of the incomes of our cocoa farmers, and, fortunately, the more progressive elements of the world industry have seen the value of the policy.

“Mars, the US company which is one of the biggest players of the industry, have come out openly to support the policy that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have evolved together, saying it is the way to ensure a sustainable industry,” he added.

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