Data emanating from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre as to its own performance and those of the other state agencies mandated to facilitate investment inflows into the country, evidence that, Ghana, indeed has become the most favoured destination in West Africa for foreign direct investment. This is despite the formidable economic challenges that have afflicted Ghana in recent years.
Even now, despite the impressive strides the country has made towards the restoration of macro-economic stability and the crucial endorsement of the International Monetary Fund which has served as guide in this regard, there is a strong economic reason for international investors to be circumspect: the continued depreciation of the cedi, even at a time the country is enjoying a sustained trade surplus.
The fact that Ghana continues to rank among the most attractive emerging market economies in the world for international investors is evidence as to its strength in this regard.
This is for good reasons, as captured in Ghana’s marketing documentations, such as good physical location, friendly people, capable work force and multi-party democracy, replete with adherence to the rule of law.
To be sure, the latter advantage is the most important. In a globalized economy where, international investors tend to think on a regional scale even when making actual investment decision on a sovereign national scale, Ghana is akin to an oasis of peace and stability in a torrid pan African storm of civil unrest, authoritarian political dictatorship (in fact if not in official structure) and resultant chaotic business operating environments.
But it appears that Ghana’s political class, in typically self-serving manner is putting this strategic advantage at risk.
This newspaper observes with growing consternation the growing tendency of Ghana’s two major political parties to engage in political brinksmanship, which goes far beyond the petty political posturing to which Ghanaians have become accustomed, Albeit with a sense of bemusement. Such political posturing is benign, if often irritating to those observers with intellect. But the political brinksmanship which is now on the rise, is a clear and present danger to the very stability of Ghana’s polity, more so in the face of a citizenry that is easily manipulated by the political elite.
Even worse, this is being accompanied by the politicization, not just of every issue of national importance, but of key national institutions as well. Unfortunately, even the institutions which have escaped such politicization have lost much of their credibility all the same to a populace that increasingly sees everything through a tinted – and tainted – political lens.
We call on everyone – rulers and ruled alike – to pause, catch their breath and take some time to reflect on what they are doing and where it could possibly take them and their nation.
Even if Ghana stops at the brink of the abyss – which we still expect to happen – just being near it would be damaging to our economic well-being; foreign investors will shy away from a county that regularly is caught up in political brinksmanship even if it does not fall over that brink, into the abyss. For a country so heavily dependent on foreign investment – even as it seeks to go “beyond aid” this is no good at all.