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MAHAMA STILL ISN’T CREDIBLE, EIU SAYS: HE WILL LOSE ELECTION 2020

Politics

Emerging findings from a highly regarded international development and monitoring organisation show that in spite of the sweat, effort and chicanery John Dramani Mahama has invested in arranging, funding and organising events such as Unity Walks, winning the 2020 general election will be a tall order for him.

Emerging findings from a highly regarded international development and monitoring organisation show that in spite of the sweat, effort and chicanery John Dramani Mahama has invested in arranging, funding and organising events such as Unity Walks, winning the 2020 general election will be a tall order for him.

The latest prognosis by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a credible source of information on business, economics and politics, shows that the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress is not a credible candidate for the position of President as far as his record of managing the economy is concerned.

The EIU therefore foresees President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party retaining power in 2020, in line with the positive outlook for the Ghanaian economy, if that is the standard voters go by.

Economic growth

“Nana Akufo-Addo, the president, and his NPP will see the country’s economic situation generally improve during the remainder of their terms of office,” the EIU report concludes.

It notes: “The 2016 legislative election was won by the NPP; and the campaign was dominated by the faltering economy, which many Ghanaians still associate with Mr Mahama.”

It reasons that it will be difficult for the NDC, under former President John Dramani Mahama, to portray itself as the better custodian of the economy, especially as Ghana’s growth outlook is now fairly strong.

Fruits of stability

The report, released on May 13 and presenting the outlook for Ghana from 2019 to 2023, not only offers findings from its election watch, but also analyses Ghana’s political stability, international relations, policy trends, fiscal policy, monetary policy, inflation, exchange rates and general growth.

The EIU has released similar reports and predictions of the outcome of Ghana’s elections over the years. In a number of cases its judgements have proved to be accurate.

On the political outlook, the EIU report says Ghana’s overall political stability is not in doubt. However, it says high levels of political competition will continue to be a source of aggravated tension between the ruling NPP and opposition NDC.

Ghana’s underlying stability is expected to endure over the forecast period, the report says, “despite an acrimonious party-political landscape”.

“The ruling NPP and NDC have alternated in power since the return of multiparty politics in 1992, and their rivalry will remain the key feature of the political scene,” the EIU says.

It says that instances of intimidation and violent incidents involving rival supporters of the two main parties reported in recent general elections are likely to continue, “although such incidents are very limited outside election campaigns, and are not expected to lead to broader unrest”.

Balance sheet

The EIU believes the NPP’s ambitious industrialisation programme will enjoy some success, with ongoing investment expected to grow. However, it fears that progress may be hampered by structural weaknesses and regional imbalances within Ghana.

The report also notes that rising oil and gas production will support real gross domestic product growth over the forecast period.

“The government’s industrialisation push and moves to strengthen the banking sector will benefit non-oil economic growth, although credit is still relatively scarce. Inflation will remain high in 2019, at a forecast average of 9.6 per cent, given a weakening currency and strong growth in private consumption.

“The rate will remain close to the upper bound of the official 6-10 per cent target range in 2020-23, for similar reasons. The cedi will remain prone to periods of volatility, given the ongoing domestic economic weakness of a high dependence on commodity prices,” it says.

It adds, “From an average of GHC4.58: $1 in 2018, the currency will weaken to GHC6.50: $1 in 2023.”

The EIU report forecasts that the current account will shift from an estimated deficit of 1.8 per cent of GDP in 2018 to a surplus of 1.1 per cent of GDP by 2023, attributable to rising oil exports over the forecast period.

Corruption still an issue

According to the research organisation, “Corruption in the public sector remains endemic and a source of anger among the population.”

It recalls that in February 2018 a special prosecutor was sworn into office with a remit to reduce graft.

“Progress has not yet been reported, but pressure to reduce corruption will rise ahead of the 2020 elections. Failure to address this issue could weigh on voter confidence in the political system, although such grievances are relatively low-level,” it says.

The EIU report further argues that despite the trend of public appointments based on party affiliation, which is one of the reasons for the oversized government team of 110-plus ministers, there are fewer opportunities at lower levels of politics.

This may cause resentment among party rank-and-file and could depress voter turnout, as members at the grass roots play a critical role in local campaigning.

About the EIU

The Economist Intelligence Unit is a specialist publisher serving companies establishing and managing operations across national borders.

For 60 years it has been a source of information on business developments, economic and political trends, regulation by the state and corporate practice worldwide.

EIU delivers information in four ways: through a digital portfolio, where the latest analyses are updated daily; through printed subscription products ranging from newsletters to annual reference works; through research reports; and by organising seminars and presentations.

The firm is a member of the London-based Economist Group.