major macro economic indicators
|2013||2014||2015 (f)||2016 (f)|
|GDP growth (%)||7.1||4.2||3.2||4.0|
|Inflation (yearly average) (%)||11.7||15.5||15.3||13.0|
|Budget balance (% GDP)||-11.0||-10.2||-7.3||-6.5|
|Current account balance (% GDP)||-11.9||-9.6||-8.3||-7.5|
|Public debt (% GDP)||56.2||69.0||72.8||72.0|
(f) Forecast (e) Estimate
- Significant mining (gold), agricultural (cocoa) and now oil resources
- Democracy installed, political and social stability
- Attractive business climate, favourable to foreign direct investment
- Support from multilateral (IMF, World Bank, EU) and bilateral (United States, United Kingdom and China) donors
- Rapid increase in the deficit and public debt
- Infrastructure shortcomings (energy, transport)
- Dependence on raw material prices (gold, oil, cocoa)
- Weak public banks, which affect the entire banking sector
Slower growth in a context of deficit reduction
Growth in the Ghanaian economy is likely to only pick up slowly in 2016. The rise in oil output will continue at a slower pace than expected because of ongoing technical problems with the Jubilee field. The increasing production from the Atuabo gas facility should help boost electricity production at a time when the frequent power cuts are limiting industrial activity. The agriculture sector is expected to benefit from better cocoa harvests following the poor harvest in 2015 due to a disease affecting cocoa trees. Services (financial, telecommunications) are expected to remain strong.
Household demand and investments will suffer the effects of reduced public spending as part of the budget austerity plan. The high rate of interest (26% in November 2015) will continue to limit access to credit.
Inflation is expected to remain high due to the rise in water (59%) and electricity (67%) prices announced in December 2015 and of the depreciation of the cedi. The relative reduction in domestic demand should however help limit price rises.
The public finances and current account are likely to only improve slowly.
The budget deficit is expected to continue falling in 2016, but the target of -5.3% of GDP contained in the budget would seem to be difficult to achieve in an election year, in the context of weak commodity prices. Tax revenues will remain constrained by low prices and the slow growth in oil production, as well as by the slow rate of expansion in non-oil activities that could limit revenues. The implementation of measures announced in accordance with the agreement reached with the IMF aimed at bringing public spending under control, namely the reduction of the proportion of wages in spending (around 35% for a number of years), could be slowed by the prospect of parliamentary elections at the end of 2016. The payment of arrears owed to Nigeria for gas supplied will also be a burden on the budget and the worsening financial situations of certain public companies (electricity utility) are a further source of concern.
The level of public debt is becoming a worry, aggravated by the depreciation of the cedi (more than 60% of the debt is denominated in currencies) and the high rate (10.75%) Eurobond (USD 1 billion) issued in October 2015 which will increase the repayment burden.
The need to import capital infrastructure goods (related to oil production in particular) will continue to impact the current account. Export income, mainly from gold and oil, is not likely to rise rapidly any time soon as there is no prospect of any upturn in prices and output is not expected to increase much. The expected increase in cocoa export prices and volumes is not likely to help bring about any significant reduction in the current account deficit.
Movements in the cedi, which lost almost 20% of its value between January and the end of October 2015, are marked by a high level of volatility. Downward pressures are likely to continue because of the perpetuation of large twin deficits and doubts surrounding the outcome of the elections scheduled for the end of 2016.
The banking sector is being progressively weakened by the lack of real growth, which is translating into lower deposits. Non-performing loans are increasing (13% in July 2015).
Elections due at the end of 2016 could lead to tensions whilst governance is deteriorating
The economic situation and regular electricity power cuts are feeding discontent among the population which could bring to an end the domination of John Dramani Mahama (NDC), in power since the death of his predecessor in 2012. The leading opposition party (NPP) is however struggling under major internal rifts, raising doubts about the outcome of the Presidential election in November 2016.
Ghana and the Ivory Coast are currently in dispute over maritime borders, following the discovery of offshore oil and gas reserves. Whilst awaiting the arbitration ruling expected during 2016, Ghana has had to suspend all new drilling in the disputed area.
The country has an image as a settled democracy and a relatively favourable business climate compared with other countries in the region. Its performances in terms of governance have however declined sharply in terms of control of corruption (down from 84th to 103rd place out of 215 between 2010 and 2014) and government effectiveness (down 20 places between 2010 and 2014).
Last update: January 2015