The Politics of Government-Business Relations in Ghana, by Darko Kwabena Opoku

By Darko Kwabena Opoku

Because the early Nineteen Eighties, the area financial institution, sponsored by means of reduction donor international locations, has been taken with a decided attempt to stimulate capitalist development in Africa by way of prescribing a collection of orthodox, neoliberal financial guidelines. Even within the relative luck tales, equivalent to in Ghana, there was a amazing failure to accomplish the East Asian-style fiscal takeoff that a few international financial institution officers nonetheless with a bit of luck expected within the early Nineteen Nineties. utilizing Ghana as a case examine, this e-book considers why this can be the case, and what the consequences are for the adequacy of orthodox, neoliberal guidelines.

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In 1982, the PNDC took several punitive actions that seriously hurt and frightened Ghanaian businesspeople. For example, it sealed off Ghana’s borders and ordered that 50 cedi (C) notes, then the highest denomination, be exchanged within days for new currency notes. Entrepreneurs in the lucrative cross-border trade who were outside Ghana at the time were unable to exchange their holdings at the banks. Even some of those who were present in Ghana were unable to meet the short deadline. This in any case proved inconsequential because those who turned in their C50 notes to the banks were frequently not repaid in the new notes.

In particular, because the Ivory Coast government paid much higher real prices to its cocoa producers and was able thereby rapidly to expand cocoa production, it was in a position to reap the benefits of record-high world market prices in 1976–1978. This in turn enabled it to cope quite easily with the increased cost of oil imports. In relation to Ghana, therefore, Robert Bates’ (1981) analysis has considerable explanatory power. It does, however, fail to capture, as Ghanaian Entrepreneurs and Governments 23 Gyimah-Boadi and Jeffries (2000) have argued, two vital issues.

The dominance of para-statals—which exceeded 300 in 1983—stif led the growth of private capitalist enterprise. The parastatals received the bulk of the meager foreign exchange available. Ghana’s economic decline impeded capitalist expansion. The chronic shortage of import licenses caused shortages of critical imports for local manufacturers. 4 percent in 1970–1981, made capitalists risk-averse and oriented to short-term commercial activities (Kraus, 2002, p. 399). The sharp fall in the standard of living of nearly all social groups after 1975 reduced most people’s capacity to spend money.

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