Friday, September 11, 2015

Ghana: A helping hand from the Washington twins

Cash and lobbying from the IMF and World Bank boost the government a year before elections

Smiling broadly and sporting his trademark northern smock, on 7 September John Mahama submitted his application in Accra to stand again as the governing party's presidential candidate in next year's election. Having sidelined most of the National Democratic Congress dissidents, Mahama is likely to sail through the NDC party primaries.

After the party formalities, Mahama received Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for discussions on regional security cooperation. Buhari's victory in March against an incumbent president has fired up opposition hopes in Ghana. Mahama then flew off to Germany to address the Fifteenth International Economic Forum on Africa in Berlin on 8-9 September, where Ghana was again held up as one of Africa's brighter prospects amid concern at China's slow down and the international commodity price crash.

One reason for Mahama's good humour is that his government has managed to steer its way through one of worst years of economic travails since the 1980s: worsening power cuts, devastating floods, inflation soaring to 17% in June, ballooning foreign debt, and opposition claims of unprecedented political and business corruption. Bizarrely, Mahama's prospects of victory in next year's elections are higher after this annus horribilis, thanks both to local political machinations and help from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.

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Source: Africa Confidential Online

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