Join us for a presentation by FCDO Development Director, Beth Cadman OBE, as she shares insights on UK’s development support priorities for Ghana and how these align to the UK Government’s International Development Strategy.
We are delighted to announce a series of sessions with FCDO Development Directors who will share more in-depth insights and understanding of their respective countries’ development priorities. This follows on from the recently published International Development Strategy, which sets the direction for all the UK Government’s development work and aims to draw on expertise from the private sector, civil society and academia to advise and challenge on implementation.
Join us as we host Beth Cadman OBE, the Development Director in Ghana for the FCDO who will present the UK Government’s development priorities and programming for Ghana.
Ghana is a stable democracy that has benefited from a long period of political stability and sustained economic growth.
But the structural budget rigidities, COVID pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and domestic pressures have undermined the economic outlook significantly, leaving Ghana on the verge of a debt and fiscal crisis. While growth remains positive, the fiscal deficit has doubled, and the debt burden has increased to over 80% of GDP. In response, Ghana’s access to international capital markets has effectively been closed off and the three main credit rating agencies have downgraded Ghana to junk status. At the same time, like many countries around the world, Ghana faces huge cost of living challenges, with inflation topping 30% and the currency depreciating rapidly (28% since the start of the year against the dollar). The Government, after resisting for months, has finally opened negotiations with the IMF over a new support programme, while a debt restructuring also looks inevitable. Impacts are now being felt across the nation, with worse to come as Government spending further reduces, and inflation and depreciation reduce investment and employment.
Growth is still driven by commodities – currently gold in particular, with additional growth forecast in agriculture and services and a relatively stronger industrial sector. Increased global prices for several key commodities, driven by the war in Ukraine, including food, fuels, fertilizers, and inputs used in manufacturing, are adding to prior inflationary pressures in Ghana.
With a wider perspective than the immediate crisis, Ghana’s development story is impressive, and the Government of Ghana has an ambition for ‘Ghana beyond aid’. The agenda calls for transforming the Ghanaian economy currently based on the production and exports of raw materials, and shifting into one based on manufacturing and high value services; providing job opportunities, and ultimately prosperity to all Ghanaians. However, the benefits of development have not been experienced evenly across all areas of Ghana. In the current economic context, ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ becomes harder to envisage, as are the investments needed to help Ghana’s highly vulnerable population and infrastructure adapt to climate change.
Ghana experiences multiple dimensions of poverty which manifests itself in a range of ways i.e. economically, socially, and geographically. Gender drives significant levels of exclusion and deprivation, as does disability. Gender equality, in particular in terms of women’s economic and political empowerment, is low and underpinned by rising Gender-based violence (GBV). Women have been hardest hit economically by the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of Ghana’s population of 30.4m, approximately one-fifth of Ghanaians have disabilities - 10% with mental health conditions. As Ghana moves beyond aid and towards self-reliance, there is a risk that the marginalised and vulnerable will get (even more) left behind, women and girls, persons with disabilities and mental health conditions.