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GHANA SADC Special Report Special Report West Africa’s Dubai?


Ghana has made tremendous advances in recent years and as it celebrates 54 years of independence on 6 March, it is on course to achieve most of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This is adapted from a piece written by Dr Kandeh K. Yumkella.*


I


n the 1970s and 1980s, Ghana was considered an economic basket case. The economy and commerce were in the doldrums and, as the country changed hands from one military junta


to another, the intelligentsia voted with their feet by moving to neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and further afield. There were Ghanaian teachers even in the only secondary school in the village of Kasiri in the remote Samu Chiefdom in the northwestern fringe of Sierra Leone. Almost 40 years later, Ghana could


be poised to become West Africa’s Dubai. In late October last year, I joined a group of eminent persons for four days as they engaged in consultations with various


stakeholders to determine first hand, how much progress Ghana has made in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Meetings were held with ministers, traditional leaders, civil society groups, students, faculty and academics, and we visited clinics and participated in social mobilisation activities for the next nationwide children’s immunisation drive. I was amazed that, unlike several other


African countries, Ghana and Ghanaians have made tremendous gains and are on course to achieve most of the MDGs, except for MDG4 (on child mortality) and MDG5 (on maternal health). In the past decade, Ghana has enjoyed robust GDP growth. FDI


flows (both inward and outward) increased eleven-fold from 2005 to 2009, from $145m to $1.68bn. By 2009, non-oil inward FDI stood at over $700m, with the rest accounted for by the mining, oil and free- zone sectors. The country has been ranked consistently among the top reformers globally by the World Bank’s Doing Business report and was ranked number three in the Top Ten reformers in 2008. To showcase its wish to become a


middle income country and its emergence into the global scene, Ghana hosted the African Cup of Nations in 2008, and less than a year later, the UNCTAD XII global trade and investment conference. Ghana was in the final of the 2010 African Nations


New African March 2011 | 43


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