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Ghana GDP Growth Rate Climbs in First Quarter as Farming Expands

Ghana’s economic growth quickened in the first quarter as farming output and telecommunication services expanded.

Gross domestic product in the West African nation rose 4.9 percent from a year earlier compared with a revised 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter, Philomena Nyarko,   government statistician at the Ghana Statistical Service, told reporters in the capital, Accra, on Wednesday. The economy grew 1.1 percent from the previous quarter, she said.

Economic growth in Ghana, Africa’s second-biggest gold producer, has been affected by lower global metals and oil prices, while chronic power shortages are limiting investment and tourism. GDP expanded 3.9 percent last year and the government is targeting growth of 5.4 percent for 2016. President John Dramani Mahama pledged to tighten the fiscal gap and boost the economy as he seeks re-election this year.

“‘We are seeing some positive growth, except that the growth is not quite what we anticipate,” Nyarko said in an interview after the release of the data. “We should be growing at a higher rate.”

Annual agricultural production expanded by 2.8 percent, compared with 1.7 percent in the three months through December, and growth in services, which includes telecommunication and hotels, accelerated to 8.8 percent from 5.2 percent, Nyarko said. Industry output, which includes oil, contracted by 1.1 percent after expanding 7.2 percent in the previous quarter.

Ghana, which may hold presidential and parliamentary elections as early as November, plans to raise as much as $1 billion in Eurobond sales after the International Monetary Fund endorsed its efforts to consolidate debt and stabilize a volatile currency. This will help plug the 2016 budget deficit, which the IMF said last month could reach 4.8 percent of GDP, lower than the government forecast of 5.3 percent.

The cedi was unchanged at 3.91 per dollar by 12:40 a.m. in Accra.

Source: www.bloomberg.com

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