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Ghana’s decision to go to the IMF has paid off – President Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo with the IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva at the Jubilee House during the meeting

President Akufo-Addo has declared that his government’s decision to secure a $3 billion extended credit facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in July 2022 has paid off, looking at the rate of recovery of the Ghanaian economy since the facility was secured in 2023.

Addressing the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, together with a delegation of other IMF staff at Jubilee House in Accra on Sunday (17 March), President Akufo-Addo said his government will continue to implement sound economic policies and will stay the course with the IMF programme that Ghana is pursuing.

Ms Georgieva was at Jubilee House to pay a courtesy call on the president at the start of a two-day visit to Ghana.

“It is obvious that the decision we made in July 2022 to come and seek your support for the difficult economic circumstances which we were involved in, as far as I am concerned, is a decision that has already paid off. It has paid off in terms of the clear turnaround that we are seeing in our economy,” said President Akufo-Addo.

Kristalina Georgieva is the managing director of the International Monetary Fund

“The very dire circumstances in which we were at the time we took that difficult decision and where we are today is a very clear testimony of the fact that our decision to seek your support was a decision that was correct. And we have had very positive benefits from it,” the president said.

“The stronger-than-predicted growth, the systematic decline in inflation in Ghana and the decline of interest rates, the relatively stable exchange rate which we have had for our currency which was deeply troubled at one stage: these are all important signals that our economy is stabilising.

“I believe that it is the co-operation that we have had from you and the association that we have had from the World Bank that has brought us to this point: that is, a rescue mission. The more important matter for us now is that, having laid the foundation, how we can now engineer the rapid growth which is the way in which the mass of our people can benefit from the development of our nation?” President Akufo-Addo further said.

The members of the IMF delegation include Stéphane Roudet (centre), mission chief for Ghana, and Abebe Aemro Selassie (right), director of the Fund’s African department

Confidence bouncing back

The IMF managing director, in her exchanges with President Akufo-Addo, said it is clear to the IMF that confidence in the Ghanaian economy, both domestically and externally, is bouncing back. She also noted that the world economy has remained surprisingly resilient and that growth has been stronger than predicted.

“For Ghana, this year cannot be more decisive because it is the year to bring [back] confidence in Ghana domestically and internationally at the level it was before [the global economic challenges] or higher,” she said.

“It is possible because we are seeing a world economy that is slightly better, so the econom[ic] attitudes are better and the critical resource of money will go where confidence in the capacity of the country to perform is highest. So, Ghana can be at [the same] place as it was before,” Georgieva said.

“We need to stay the course. Your growth is better than expected, your inflation is lower than expected, the progress in debt restructuring has been faster than expected and the task now is to cement what has been achieved,” she said.

Ghana’s IMF facility

Ghana secured an IMF extended credit facility (ECF) worth US$3 billion in 2023 after President Akufo-Addo authorised the then minister of finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in July 2022 to open formal negotiations with the IMF to secure balance-of-payments support.

The move was among broader efforts to quicken Ghana’s build-back in the face of global challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The welcoming team in Ghana included Abena Osei Asare, Minister of State for Finance, Maxwell Opoku Afari, first deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana, and Elsie Addo Awadzi, second deputy governor

Ghana’s three-year-IMF programme is in the first year of implementation. The country has so far agreed detailed terms for a total of $1.2 billion from the IMF, in two tranches of $600 million each.

Ghana has also completed negotiations with her external creditors and discussions with external private creditors are ongoing.

AI summit

During the trip, her first official visit to Ghana, Kristalina Georgieva, together with the Minister for Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, will be taking part in a summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The summit, which will take place today (18 March) at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, will be under the theme “AI as a Catalyst to Transform Economies in Sub-Saharan Africa”.

A panel discussion will look at the challenges and opportunities that AI presents for emerging economies, particularly focusing on Ghana’s digitalisation and AI readiness.

The discussion will also aim to explore strategies for harnessing AI for positive outcomes, examining its role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution alongside other technologies such as cloud computing.

The panel will include Kristalina Georgieva of the IMF, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Patrick Awuah, the president of the Ashesi University, and Jason Hickey, the head of Google’s AI Research Centre.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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