Overview

  • Ghana sits on the Atlantic Ocean and borders Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. It has a population of about 29.6 million (2018). In the past two decades, it has taken major strides toward democracy under a multi-party system, with its independent judiciary winning public trust. Ghana consistently ranks in the top three countries in Africa for freedom of speech and press freedom, with strong broadcast media in particular, and radio the medium with the greatest reach. Factors such as these provide Ghana with solid social capital.

    A year after being elected President in a peaceful election, President Akufo-Addo has had some challenges. fulfilling his election pledges—including setting up a factory in each of the nation’s 216 districts, one dam for every village and providing free high school education. Though the government has started implementing some of its promises, such as planting for food and for jobs, and the free secondary education. The authorities need to pay attention to proper fine tuning and funding in the years ahead.

    Recent Economic Developments

    Ghana’s economic performance improved significantly in 2017 after a difficult 2016. The fiscal deficit dropped to 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 from 9.3% in 2016, underpinned by serious fiscal consolidation efforts. Despite that total revenue (including grants) underperformed by 1.1% of GDP, the fiscal turnaround was achieved primarily through expenditure cuts (1.3% of GDP), which were imposed on recurrent and capital expenditures. The government also capped transfers to Earmarked Funds at 25% of tax revenues. The primary balance improved from a deficit in 2016 to a surplus of 0.8% of GDP in 2017. The debt to GDP ratio is estimated at 69.2% in December 2017 down from 73.4% in 2016 reflecting a slowdown in the rate of external debt accumulation, as well as higher GDP growth. Domestic revenue mobilization is a key priority for the government, and the World Bank supports these efforts through technical assistance to the Ghana Revenue Authority.  

    According to the Ghana Statistical Service latest numbers released in April 2018, Ghana’s economy is estimated to have expanded by 8.5% in 2017 from 3.6% a year ago driven by the mining and oil sectors. Oil production rose strongly because the Offshore Turret Remediation Project was deferred from 2017 to 2018. In addition to this one-off effect, gold output remained high, and while cocoa production levels remained stable. Still, non-oil growth declined to 4.8% from 5.1% in 2016 as growth in the services sector decelerated in 2017.

    The external sector improved, the cedi remained stable, while the foreign reserves rose. End-2017 data show a substantial narrowing of the current account deficit due to the large surplus in the trade balance and higher private transfers. This reflects stronger performance in earnings from oil, gold, and cocoa, while imports were subdued. The trade balance improved to a surplus equivalent to 2.3% of GDP at end 2017 (from a deficit in 2016). The current account deficit narrowed to 4.6% of GDP (US$2.1 billion) from 6.7% of GDP) a year ago. Gross international reserves were estimated at US$ 7.6 billion, equivalent to 4.5 months of imports, up from US$6.2 billion equivalent to 3.1 months in 2016.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • The World Bank Group's (WBG's) Country Partnership Strategy FY2013-2018 (CPS) was endorsed by the Bank in September 2013. The CPS's objective is to assist the government to sustain economic growth, accelerate poverty reduction, and enhance shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. It seeks to help Ghana consolidate its transition to the status of a lower-middle-income country, address sources of inequality, and help pave the way to access funds from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The CPS program is based on three pillars: improving economic institutions, improving competitiveness and job creation, and protecting the poor and vulnerable. In turn, these are anchored in the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda pillars of competitiveness and employment, vulnerability and resilience, and governance and public-sector capacity.

    The total WBG exposure is approximately $4.1 billion, with a current portfolio of $2 billion of credits and grants from the International Development Association (IDA). The strategy incorporates a substantial current IDA portfolio, consisting of 22 operations for a total commitment of $2.1 billion, in addition to regional operations with an additional net commitment of $383 million. Regional projects in West Africa are in transport, energy, agriculture, higher education, and trade.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • The results presented here reflect just a couple of active projects. Through the Land Administration Project, out of a backlog of 62,633 cases of land title applications, 53,479 have been cleared. The number of registered land transactions (deeds and titles) increased from a total of 6,288 in 2011 to a total of 80,109 as of June 2017. As part of the Decentralized Land administration services to ease congestion in the Center, the establishment of seven Client Services and Access Units to enhance a speedy response to client needs has led to significant progress in the reduction of the time it takes to deliver service, thereby reducing the registration of Land deeds from three months to two months, and title registration from seven months to four months. An automated Ghana Enterprise Land Information System is also being developed to improve efficiency in the provision of land services. As many as 51 Customary Land Secretariats have been established and are operational under the management of Traditional Authorities, and recorded about 35,890 land rights issues by the end of June 2017.

    Under the Ghana Social Opportunities Project, 1,110,567 people benefited from social safety net programs, 55% of the beneficiaries of the Social safety net programs were female. The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Program has seen an increase from the 39,146 beneficiaries’ households in 2010 to 213,048 households made up of 943,842 direct beneficiaries as of December 2017 (56% of whom were female beneficiaries, against a target of 30%). In the poorest regions of the country, 1,081.53 km of rural roads had been rehabilitated 228 small earth dams and dugouts had been rehabilitated, and 2,177.84 hectares of degraded public and community land had been planted with fruit trees and multi-purpose woodlots and other biodiversity-restoration activities. The program thus effectively created 12,882,634 person days of employment, against a target of 9,5000,000. Labor-Intensive Public Works direct project beneficiaries numbered 166,743 against the target 190,000, out of which 61% were female (the target was 50%). In addition to improvements in reach, the projects have benefited from the strengthening of the country's social protection system, with the introduction of management information systems, electronic payments, and the establishment of the Ghana National Household Registry.

    The Information and Communication Technology sector has been supported by the progressive policies and regulatory interventions of the government, and by the WBG and development partners under the e-Ghana and e-Transform projects. A vibrant private sector bolsters investment and offers innovative products and services to consumers. At the end of September 2017, the total subscriptions of mobile data in the country was 22,865,821 with a penetration rate of 79.94%. By September 2017, mobile phone penetration exceeded 100% in Ghana, compared to 1% in 2000, the total number of mobile voice subscriptions was 37,445,048. This represents a percentage increase of 0.09% from August 2017’s figure of 37,409,709. Greater availability of high-speed internet and falling wholesale prices are helping a growing domestic industry of business process outsourcing and information technology-enabled services. The local industry creates jobs for the country’s youth, as well as economic output and export revenue. 

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • The World Bank country program in Ghana is coordinated with other development partners. The WBG carried out a Performance and Learning Review to assess the progress of the Ghana–WBG Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for FY13–FY16 that had extended the strategy end date from FY16 to FY18. The review brought together partners in civil society, development, the private sector and government. Similar partnerships were demonstrated during the preparation of the Ghana: Policy Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity. Partners reviewed their development plans and revamped the architecture for donor coordination and dialogue to recognize the emerging importance of the private sector and newer, non-traditional partners. The World Bank Group is currently carrying out a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) for Ghana, which will inform the development of a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF). Consultations on the emerging priorities of the SCD took place in Ghana in early March 2018.

    Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Operations

    MIGA currently insures four active projects in Ghana, supporting power, telecoms, clean water, and oil and gas supply, with total gross exposure of $274 million. MIGA's support is aligned with the first pillar of the CPS, which calls for raising private sector competitiveness through engagements in private and financial sector development, the modernization of agriculture, sustainable natural resource management, and investment in infrastructure.

    International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Strategy and Operations

    Ghana is IFC’s 3rd largest exposure in Africa in terms of committed investment volume. As of January 2018, it had committed $983.5million of its own account in Ghana. IFC’s current program in Ghana consists of 31 projects, led by investments in infrastructure (74%), followed by manufacturing, agribusiness, and services (14%), and financial institutions, or FIs (11%). IFC’s infrastructure strategy is to support the entire energy value chain from generation to transmission and distribution. It also includes support to port logistics. In FIs, IFC provides small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access to credit by partnering with FIs, as well as by supporting trade finance, capital markets, and financial infrastructure development. IFC also seeks to leverage its investments in the financial sector to support value chains in agribusiness, as well as tourism and commercial real estate.

    The IFC has a $219 million investment pipeline that spans agribusiness, infrastructure (renewable energy), and services (finance and education). In advisory services, it has implemented over $41 million worth of projects ($6.4 million from its own funds) related to trade and competitiveness, financial markets, health, energy, and environmental and social governance. 

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

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LENDING

Ghana: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

MULTIMEDIA



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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Independence Avenue
King Hassan Rd, Plot no. 3
P.O. Box M. 27
Ridge, Accra, Ghana
+233-30-221-4100
For general information and inquiries
Kennedy Fosu
Communications Officer
+233-30-221-4142
kfosu@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
ghanaalert@worldbank.org