Time to build further on Nigeria, Ghana relations
By Richard Mammah
News of Ghana’s second quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product, GDP posting of 9 percent is still being digested in the economic trends analysis centres within the sub-region and indeed the continent.
And the implications are also being considered. Is economic growth really impossible to achieve for sub-Saharan African states?
To be sure, a combination of factors is responsible for the current gains that the Ghanaian economy has recorded.
The first is that government is a continuum and the present growth being witnessed is clearly the fruit of continued and overlapping decision-making and implementation across the years by various administrations to fix the Ghanaian economy and continue to nudge it in the right directions.
For example, unlike the seeming norm in some other nations within the continent where incoming governments spend so much energy on viciously savaging its predecessors in such a frenetic manner that virtually results in ‘throwing out the baby with the bath water,’ only last week, the former Gold Coast secured yet another economy-boosting reprieve when through the deft collaboration of the immediate past and present Attorney-Generals, the country was able to secure victory in its dispute with Cote d’Ivoire as per maritime and oil prospecting rights relating to their shared water mass.
The second point is that from where this current growth level has come, more can still be achieved. In this wise, the Akufo-Addo administration is expected to continue to drive the process for greater development of intra-regional trade as a major segment of the drive for global investments. With his head in the right place, the President has in the past few months made very significant trips across West Africa, engaging neighbour administrations and people on the need for greater cooperation at this level. This is correct and appropriate as all across the world, it is primarily citizens and then close neighbours that provide the biggest momentum for sustained economic growth for countries.
Third is the imperative of continuing to ensure that all such secured growth is fairly and most meaningfully distributed in such a way as to ensure that indeed, the whole nation does grow. This is the best antidote for securing national cohesiveness, security and continuing prosperity.
And fourth, Ghana would need to continue to manage its relations with Nigeria in a special way. This is because, its Western African big brother has continued to star as one of its very easy and ready sources of support in its continuing drive to boost its investment climate. With Nigeria being one of the six largest sources of FDI for Ghana within this decade and Nigeria-originating firms continuing to help drive Ghana’s growth ambitions, it is critical that the Akufo-Addo administration continues to do all that it can to ensure that good neighbourliness is sustained and maintained.
As at 2011 for example, Nigeria was already accounting for as much as 6.1 billion dollars according to data gleaned from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). At that time, this was equivalent to almost a trillion naira or a quarter of the annual budget of the more populous country.
Indeed, this inflow of ‘love and affection’ from Nigeria has continued to grow over time such that as a t current ranking, Nigerians routinely ride and jet across the borders in search of property investments, tourism and leisure, educational advancement, etc. And from the way things are presently, it is clear that that trend is almost sure to continue. So Ghana, a foreign investor in your hand, is worth ten in the bush!
Conversely however, there is also the need to rigorously examine the tenor of Ghanaian investments in Nigeria. As at 2011 for example, the GIPC report put the reverse investment from Ghana in Nigeria at just $1.5 billion. Of course, Nigeria remains a bigger economy in relation to Ghana, but given the operations of the principle of complementarity in international relations and the need to boost the balance of trade situation between both nations, more work should be done in bridging this gap.
The sum of all of this then would indeed be most desirable. As two of the largest economies in West Africa, Ghana and Nigeria doing better business together would have a ripple effect on trade relations within the sub-region. This indeed is the way to go.
President Akufo-Addo of Ghana