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The Ghana Susu: Reimagining Financial Development

In the wake of global anti-racism movements and a growing awareness of the problematic dynamics of colonial knowledge-making in international development, governments, academics and NGOs are scrambling to reposition themselves and their work in order to address systemic power imbalances. Yet, feminist economists like those at the International Association of Feminist Economics (IAFFE) have pointed out that many efforts and the scholarship largely informing the policy remain superficial, and do not go far enough in tackling the root causes of economic inequality, social and business exclusion.

African Union Will Not Back ECOWAS Intervention In Niger

The African Union (AU) said on Wednesday, August 16, that it will not support the military intervention that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is planning, with the backing of France and the US, to restore ousted Mohamed Bazoum to Niger’s presidency. Bazoum was deposed in a popularly-welcomed coup on July 26. 10 days after the expiry of the deadline given by ECOWAS to Niger’s military government to restore Bazoum, the sub-regional bloc is beset by internal disagreements and domestic opposition in its member states. After the ECOWAS heads of states ordered on August 10 “the deployment of the ECOWAS Standby Force” and directed “the Chiefs of Defense Staffs to immediately activate” it, the chiefs were scheduled to meet on August 12 to set the wheels in motion.

Economy Must Be ‘At Service Of Life’

On May 19, Ghana received the first tranche of a $3 billion, three-year bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Accra had approached the lending agency in 2022 amid a severe cost of living crisis as food prices surged by 122% and the inflation rate breached 50%—the highest in two decades. With its currency cedi having lost over half of its value against the US dollar, and a debt burden that was draining between 70-100% of government revenues, Ghana reached a loan agreement with the IMF in December. This is Ghana’s seventeenth arrangement with the IMF since independence, with each engagement marked by similar policies of austerity which worked to erode the revolutionary vision of the country’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah.

Much Lying From The International Monetary Fund

Remarkably, during her visit to Ghana in late March 2023, US Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the US Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance will ‘deploy a full-time resident advisor in 2023 to Accra to assist the Ministry of Finance in developing and executing medium- to long-term reforms needed to improve debt sustainability and support a competitive, dynamic government debt market’. Ghana certainly faces significant challenges in this arena, with its external debt standing at $36 billion and its debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio hovering over 100 percent.

Unity And Resistance To Imperialism Drive West African Conference

150 people from political parties, trade unions, community-based organizations, women’s groups, and other social movements across West Africa are gathering in Winneba, Ghana from December 8-10 to chart a joint strategy for struggle at a crucial time for the region. The West African People for a New World Conference seeks to be a forum to share the demands and aspirations of the people in struggle in the region. The conference is being held at a time when there has been an upsurge of anti-imperialist sentiments across the region, as well as severe economic crises due to neoliberal policies. The bulk of the delegates hail from the 16 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) but there are also participants from organizations from other parts of the continent.

Structural Adjustment By Any Other Name

In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded another staff-level visit to Ghana, amid negotiations over a $3 billion loan to Accra under an Extended Credit Facility (ECF). Talks over the program, which will be Ghana’s 17th with the Fund since independence, were announced in July, in the wake of protests against worsening economic conditions. However, even as the situation grew more dire, progressive forces and unions in Ghana resolutely rejected any engagement with the IMF, recalling the disastrous impacts of previous arrangements. Ghana is not alone, in fact over half of the countries in Africa are currently either under, or are negotiating, an IMF program. “The ECF is a direct descendant of the infamous Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), a joint IMF-World Bank program that caused so much suffering in developing countries throughout the 1980s to 1990s, and led to socio-economic-political changes that reverberate to this day,” Dian Maria Blandina, medical doctor, researcher, and People’s Health Movement (PHM) activist, told Peoples Dispatch.

Ghana’s Unions And Left Reject Bailout Talks With The IMF

The government of Ghana has initiated talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a potential bailout program. A delegation of the IMF concluded a week-long visit to Accra on July 13 and met with officials including Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. The proposal has been severely criticized by the Ghanaian left, especially the Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG), and trade unions. In a statement released after the visit, IMF Mission Chief Carlo Sdralevich stated, “The IMF team held initial discussions on a comprehensive reform package to restore macroeconomic stability and anchor debt sustainability…The discussions focused on improving fiscal balances in a sustainable way while protecting the vulnerable and poor; ensuring credibility of the monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; preserving financial sector stability; and designing reforms to enhance growth, create jobs, and strengthen governance.”

Telling Lies On An International Scale

The mainstream media have been replete with stories of a new Tory “red meat” initiative of right-wing policies. “Government sources” briefed the media that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Home Secretary Priti Patel were in talks with their counterparts in Ghana and Rwanda about setting up internment camps to receive asylum seekers deported from the U.K. Apart from the fact it would be entirely illegal to deport Syrians or Afghans to Africa, I knew it to be simply impossible the story was true. I have had the pleasure of being friends with President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana, and with many of his family, for 20 years. Nana would never agree to such a thing; his background is as a human rights lawyer and activist.

When Confronted By Hungry Bellies, Us Imperialists Reach For Their Guns

In 1965, Ghana’s Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah published a bold book, Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. In this book, Nkrumah documented in great detail the way in which European and North American multinational firms – in close collaboration with their governments – continued to smother the aspirations of the new nations of Africa. As an example, Nkrumah took up his own country, Ghana, which had been known by the colonial name ‘the Gold Coast’ until 1957. One of the old colonial companies, Ashanti Goldfields (a British company) continued to make fabulous profits from the hard labour of Ghana’s gold miners; when Nkrumah’s government tried to raise the taxes on the firm, London newspapers screamed in outrage.

98.3% Of Ghana’s Gold Remains In The Hands Of Multinational Corporations

Every year, the vast majority of Ghana’s natural wealth is stolen. The country is among the largest exporters of gold in the world, yet—according to a study by the Bank of Ghana—less than 1.7 percent of global returns from its gold make their way back to the Ghanaian government. This means that the remaining 98.3 percent is managed by outside entities—mainly multinational corporations, who keep the lion’s share of the profits. In other words, of the $5.2 billion of gold produced from 1990 to 2002, the government received only $87.3 million in corporate income taxes and royalty payments.

Chocolate Barons Devastate National Parks In West Africa

By Davis Harper for Eco Watch - For several years, chocolate barons have devastated forests to make room to plant cocoa, a crop that naturally grows in shade. Now, a report from Mighty Earth—a nonprofit that works to conserve threatened landscapes—shows new evidence that illegal deforestation is occurring in protected areas; specifically, in the national parks of West Africa. The Ivory Coast and Ghana produce a combined 2.6 million tons of chocolate—60 percent of the world's supply. It's no wonder so many of these nations' protected lands are at risk. According to Mighty Earth's report, 10 percent of Ghana's tree cover has been replaced by cocoa monocultures. The Ivory Coast, once heavily forested and extremely biodiverse, has lost seven of its 23 protected areas to cocoa. Due to habitat loss, its chimpanzees are now endangered, and its elephants are nearly extinct. This means that companies like Mars, Nestlé, Hersey's and Godiva are on the hot seat for making products using cocoa grown by uncertified sources. "Chocolate companies have taken advantage of corrupt governance in Ghana and the Ivory Coast to deforest parklands," saic Glenn Horowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth. With a rising demand for the world's guiltiest pleasure, chocolate companies are also taking advantage of farmers—on average, these growers are paid less than 80 cents a day.

Occupy Ghana ‘Red Friday’ Protest Against Government

By Delali Adogla-Bessa foe On January 22, 2016, Occupy Ghana,marked Red Friday to protest what they describe as the government’s “destructive” economic policies. They also protested Government’s decision to accept what they call “two highly suspicious terrorists” in Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, “under the pretext of honouring international neighbourliness and compassion with America.” Ghanaians wore red to call to government attention concerns raised by the pressure group and the citizenry including the hikes in utility tariffs, the exorbitant taxes on petroleum products, the “shady” Ameri deal and corruption among other things.

Ghanians Launch Occupy Movement

A group of Ghanaians rallied near the president's office as part of a campaign dubbed #OccupyFlagStaffHouse to protest corruption and the country's poor economic situation and press the government to do something about it. The peaceful march, organized in less than five days, happened on July 1, 2014, a public holiday that marked the 54th year since Ghana became a republic following British colonial rule. The movement was launched on Facebook as OccupyGhana on June 28, and by July 1 it had over 3,000 followers in support of the protest. It now has more than 6,000. This comes in the wake of a series of backlashes against the government for the fast depreciation of the cedi since it tightened the country's foreign currency rules and eased them last month, and the shortage of fuel that led to long queues at petrol stations for about a week.
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