Ghana now middle-income nation

2010-11-06 10:40

Accra - Ghana has joined the world's middle-income nations after a re-evaluation put the size of the country's economy more than 60% larger just before it begins pumping oil, an official said on Friday.

Ebow Duncan, a senior statistician with the Ghana Statistical Service, told AFP the change in calculation methodology of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) was made to allow "the national income to capture the realities of the current period".

It captures new sectors such as telephony and oil-related infrastructure, he said. The country expects to begin pumping its newly found oil before the year's end.

With the latest figures, the new 2009 GDP figure is $25.6bn. The increase amounts to some 63%.

Duncan put the provisional national per capita GDP for 2010 at around $1 300, up from the $750 under the old formula, catapulting the country into the lower-middle income bracket.

The new figures place Ghana in the third place for GDP per person in the West African region, behind the Cape Verde islands and Nigeria.

The re-evaluation, which saw the base year changed to 2006 instead of 1993, also projected the economy to grow by 6.6% in 2010 from the previous forecast of 5.9%.

"Apart from the fact that a lot has changed in the economy, the base year did not allow us to reflect changes adequately," said Duncan.

Ghana, already a major cocoa and gold producer, has also seen growth in telecommunications and forestry, in addition to soon joining the club of oil producers.

On Thursday, the World Bank rated Ghana the easiest country to do business in West Africa.

The country is seen as among the most politically stable nations in the region.