Ghana's president Mahama outlines re-election manifesto

2016-09-18 16:05
President John Mahama of Ghana. (File: AFP)

President John Mahama of Ghana. (File: AFP)

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Accra - Ghana's president John Mahama announced his reelection manifesto at a rally on Saturday promising high economic growth and more jobs ahead of December polls.

Addressing a large crowd in the central Brong Ahafo region, Mahama defended his economic track record after Ghana's growth slid below 4% in 2015, the slowest in over a decade.

The West African country was once hailed as a regional growth model but has lost its lustre after taking on too much debt, with electricity shortages compounding the pain of low export revenues.

Ghana, a cocoa, oil and gold exporter, was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015 for a bailout as global commodity prices tanked.

"There was the need to implement bold, fiscal monetary measures to put the economy on a more stable path," Mahama told supporters clothed in the black, green and red National Democratic Congress (NDC) party colours.

Monetary reforms and budgets 

"Our own projections and those from international financial institutions show Ghana's economy is going to grow above eight percent next year," Mahama said, insisting his party can deliver on macroeconomic stability and jobs.

"The NDC has the best of plans that can move this country forward. We have been candid and frank with the people of Ghana and we have demonstrated that we take them seriously even as we ask for another mandate to serve," Mahama said.

Mahama has agreed to almost $1 billion in IMF loans to help control a ballooning budget deficit and stop the cedi from depreciating, according to Bloomberg News.

The IMF loan is conditional on the Ghana government staying on track with monetary reforms and budgets and also not using Bank of Ghana funding ahead of the elections.

But earlier this month, Ghana decided to raise $750m on the Eurobond market seeking some wiggle-room from the fund's spending restrictions, with Mahama insisting it would not require further IMF assistance.

Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party has criticised Mahama for his handling of the economic crisis, but not offered any clear plan on how he will fund his policy proposals.

A tight poll race is expected on December 7 with frustrated voters enduring power blackouts and rising inflation.

Read more on:    ghana  |  west africa  |  ghana 2016 elections

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