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The Ghanaian economy is in a funk

Their narrative/story-line is rapidly becoming exhaustive and redundant; the constant drumbeat by President Nana Akuffo Addo and his orbit of ministers, special advisers and friends that the Ghanaian economy is resilient and on full throttle.

Harsh realities on the ground, however, — the self- preservation induced epic daily struggles by working class Ghanaians to adequately feed, decently house and properly clothe their nuclear and extended families — sharply and robustly contradict their forceful assertions and insistence that all is well.

If there is one trait of politicians that endlessly grates on ordinary people, it is their unrestrained propensity to engage in self-adulation; boy, do Ghanaian politicians love to gloat, to blow their horns by highlighting their achievements, however, miniscule and insignificant, with the unstated goal of wooing voters and outsmarting the opposition.

Mr. Addo is no exception. He scarcely misses opportunities to turn the spotlight on his accomplishments, all in an effort to drive home the point that he has, so far, been an excellent steward of the economy.

So, there he was at a May Day celebration in Kumasi on Tuesday last week sounding all wonkish and professorial, rattling off some dizzyingly array of mind numbing numbers, and proudly telling bemused Ghanaians that the economy posted some gains last year, and they should expect more of the same in the coming years.

A vibrant economy? This is a hard sell, and Ghanaians aren’t buying it. It is profoundly discouraging that Mr. Addo seems oblivious to the financial plight of those he rules.

I sometimes wonder why Mr. Addo has this unexplained fascination with economic data. He has used numbers on several occasion to lend some academic heft to his economic arguments.

Unfortunately, numbers don’t mean zilch to the untrained mind, and they don’t always explain everything about an economy. Available data on Ghana’s unemployment rate pegs it at 48 per cent, but it could be higher if you consider anecdotally that 8 in 10 Ghanaians are jobless.

The numbers Mr. Addo liberally referenced in his high falutin speech ring hollow to my neighbor who subsists on a measly 300 Ghana cedis monthly salary, and spends much of his day expending precious mental bandwidth on what he is going to feed his wife and wards.

Or, to the thousands of university graduates who are still job hunting eons after earning their much coveted degrees.

Mr. Addo, I am afraid, is overly optimistic about the economy; I wish his was guarded optimism. A sudden gloom has descended on the country. In fact, a large section of the Ghanaian population is dejected and crestfallen. It is unsure of the future and what it portends for them, their children and grandchildren.

Mr. Addo has a lot riding on his shoulders; his party is facing some strong headwinds in 2020, due in large measure to inexplicable policy miscalculations. Should he revive our country’s sluggish economy, grow it for several quarters and sustain that expansion for the long term, he wins a second term hands down and deservingly so. However, if the economy remains stagnant and jobs are elusive, he will suffer his predecessor’s fate.


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