International community committed to Ghana’s economic recovery
The Charge D’Affaires at the German Embassy in Ghana, Sivine Jansen, has reiterated the commitment of the international community to help Ghana come out of its current economic challenges.
She said the international community was in constant engagement with international organisations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on how to collaborate to improve Ghana’s economic situation.
“Ghana has not been in the easiest situation economically since last year and the international community and organisations are always engaging on this issue,” she stated.
Ghana’s economy has been faced with a myriad of challenges ranging from high inflation which hit a 22-year high of 54.1 per cent in December 2022, and an unsustainable public debt of GH¢575.7 billion.
This prompted the country to seek help from the International Monetary Fund in July last year.
Although the government was able to reach a staff-level agreement with a fund in December last year, a board-level approval which would pave the way for the disbursement of the US$3 billion support is hinged on the country’s ability to restructure both its domestic and external debt.
Although the domestic debt exchange programme had been concluded and described as a success by the Ministry of Finance, there have been fresh talks, in recent times, of a possible second round of domestic debt restructuring.
However, what is holding the country back from reaching an agreement with the IMF is the restructuring of the country’s external debt. So far, the Paris Club, the US and other bilateral creditors of the country have expressed their willingness to restructure the country’s debt. Standing in the way now, however, is China, which is still playing hardball.
A March deadline earlier announced by the government to reach an agreement with the fund had already elapsed and at the recent World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC, sources close to the IMF hinted that the country was likely to get a programme by May this year.
Speaking on behalf of the German Ambassador at the opening of the International Concrete Conference and Exhibition (ICCX) which was held in West Africa and Ghana for the first time, Ms Jansen, said “Everybody has a great will to improve and support the country’s situation.
“We are hoping to see radical improvements soon,” she stated.
Commenting on the conference, Ms Jansen said it was great to see huge interest and a good number of companies attending the conference.
She said despite the difficult situation in the country, German companies that have pitched camps in the country were growing steadily although at a slow rate.
“They have a slow-growing-but-steady business, with lots of market opportunities that they can tap into to grow and expand their business. So far, the experiences we have had with them are very impressive.
“We, therefore, encourage companies to give it a chance and tap into the market. When it comes to concrete-related businesses, it is very interesting to note that in West Africa, we see the highest population growth and we expect five per cent of the world’s population from West Africa.
“This presents a huge potential for the concrete market in terms of real estate and infrastructure development. In challenging economic times, people tend to invest more in real estate and this also creates opportunities for the concrete market,” she explained.
Open to ideas
Also speaking at the conference, the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, said the country was excited to be the first country in West Africa to host the ICCX.
He said Ghana was open to new ideas, technology, innovation and investment partnerships in the concrete industry.
He noted that the development of sustainable infrastructure was one of the priorities of Ghana in its quest for economic transformation and development.
He said Ghana and Africa’s economic growth and development are fundamentally connected to its advancement in the infrastructure sector.
This, he said, contributes to the increasing demand for cement concrete and other construction-related materials.
“Available statistics indicate that an estimated 2,500 active building and construction contractors currently operate in the Ghanaian market, with players ranging from indigenous micro-enterprises and individual contractors to foreign multi-national engineering and construction giants,” he stated.