Bloomberg Markets|August - September 2020
In 2017 he became Ghana’s minister for finance and economic planning, focusing on cutting the country’s budget deficit to below 5% of gross domestic product and exiting an International Monetary Fund bailout program in April 2019. Then the pandemic dealt a blow to GDP growth, which had exceeded 6% for three straight years. The government redirected its energies toward keeping its people healthy and safe. Ofori-Atta has played a leading role in helping to negotiate a debt standstill for African countries. He spoke with Bloomberg Markets in early July about Ghana’s fiscal challenges, inequities he sees in the global financial infrastructure, and his reaction to the global racial justice movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the U.S.
EKOW DONTOH: What are the main challenges that Ghana is facing amid the Covid-19 pandemic?
KEN OFORI-ATTA: This is probably the phenomenon with the greatest economic impact since World War II, at least for Africa. Ghana started the year on an incredible note. We had expected 6.8% GDP growth, and now we realize there is going to be a steep drop—we are expecting growth of 1.2%. The deficit, which we had jealously guarded and kept under 5%, is now expected to widen north of 10%.
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August - September 2020