Friday, 25 October 2013

Religion and Ghana's Economy

Ghana's economy keeps bleeding! The ordinary Ghanaian keeps suffering, the cost of living keeps rising, corruption keeps halting growth, and debts keep on preventing economic nourishment. Some suffering "krife" brothers console themselves with 1 Timothy 6:9-11 (for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs). Those enjoying on the other hand, never forget Ecclesiastes 10:18-20 (a feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things).

Most studies on "establishing a relationship between religion and poverty" reveals a positive correlation. A Gallup poll in 2009 in 114 countries revealed a strong correlation between religiosity and poverty, as countries with low per-capita incomes came out as the most religious. In 2012, another Gallup survey branded Ghana as the most religious nation on earth ... 

A new survey conducted by the Gallup International Association has ranked citizens of 57 countries by their religiosity. Overall, 59% of those surveyed described themselves as religious, 23% said they are not religious, and 13% said they are convinced atheists. The nations with the highest percentages of self-described religious persons are Ghana, Nigeria, Armenia, Fiji, Macedonia, Romania, Iraq, Kenya, Peru, and Brazil (GhanaWeb, 2012... and I believe this "title" is still ours! 

In Ghana, Christianity dominates religiosity, as the 2010 population census revealed a staggering 71.2% of the population being Christians. It doesn't wow me that politicians speak the language of the "71.2" by mounting political platforms with renowned gospel musicians, who sometimes remix some of their hits with campaign messages for "seven pieces of silver." Some party faithfuls dance to the original version at church, and get bibbed with the remix version at political rallies, casting votes benightedly.

In March this year, the most religious nation on earth was willing to spend $2m to sponsor some pastors to go and pray for the country in Israel. The country's leaders were placing high hopes on this move, that the outcome will be a transformation of the Ghanaian economy; a miracle. Ironically, corruption, misuse of public funds, neglecting the plight of the poor ... dominates the tenure of most of our leaders. Interestingly enough, no African country had below 85% "YES" on the Gullup report, meanwhile, majority of the countries within the region are widely perceived to be the most corrupt in the world.

So how important then is religion in the daily lives of;
the president who has a "Swiss bank account" in which he transfers public funds,
the minister who gives out contracts under his jurisdiction to "the highest bidder"
or that police officer on the Achimota-Haatso road, who doesn't accept anything below 5cedis from trotro drivers?

Let us keep praying my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Ghana's Economy in ED

... and did it get back on track? Ghana has been a stable democracy since 1992. In 2008, the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills took over and as an economist, expectations for him to stabilize the macro economic indicators were high. He didn't disappoint. In the early months of 2012, Ghana's GDP stood around $74.9 billion, representing a 13.6% growth in 2011 and a 5-year compound annual growth of 8.0%. Inflation (CPI) continued to be in single digits, 8.7% with a public debt of 40.8% of GDP.