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Will Ghana’s success story continue after John Atta Mills?


…[I]ncreased prosperity has triggered a population boom, placing a huge burden on health and education services and exacerbating regional inequality. Worst affected is the north, where food insecurity persists and infrastructure is weak.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: The Guardian | UK
By Les Roopanarine | July 25, 2012

Death of Ghana president is traumatic but political and economic foundations are strong in country seen as an African model

The death of President John Atta Mills has sparked not only an outpouring of grief in Ghana, but renewed doubts about December’s parliamentary and presidential elections, when two decades of progress will be at stake. Yet it need not be a game changer. Since 1992, when a constitutional referendum drew a line under 26 years of military rule and ushered in an era of democracy, Ghana has come to be regarded as a paradigm of successful development; there is every sign the country will continue in that vein.

John Dramani Mahama, former vice-president, was swiftly sworn in as Mills’s successor, and his promotion passed without incident. Already, Ghana has passed its first test. As one Twitter user observed: “Mills dies, world told, VP sworn in, all within a day. No rumours, no speculation. African success story.”

In many respects, Ghana is exactly that. Employment and economic growth have risen, while poverty and hunger have gone in the opposite direction. World Bank figures suggest that, between 1991 and 2006, the proportion of the population living in poverty fell from 51.7% to 28.5%. These improvements have put Ghana on track to become the first African country to achieve the UN millennium development goal of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

Public anxiety over who will run for the ruling party in December is understandable. Political stability has been central to the upturn in Ghana’s development indicators. Since 1992, five successful elections have seen power twice changing hands between the country’s two political heavyweights, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic party (NPP). Progress has fuelled upbeat predictions, not least the suggestion that Ghana is nearing the point, perhaps a decade from now, when aid can end.

For that to happen, however, continued political stability will be vital. Ghana may be on an upward curve, but the development narrative of a country ranked 135 in the UN’s human development index is a long way from being set in stone. Although poverty has been reduced, it remains prevalent, with 30% of the population living on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank’s most recent figures.

Moreover, increased prosperity has triggered a population boom, placing a huge burden on health and education services and exacerbating regional inequality. Worst affected is the north, where food insecurity persists and infrastructure is weak. And although inflation is high everywhere in Ghana, access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is not widespread. Meeting these challenges – and, in particular, dealing with the influx of wealth anticipated following the discovery of offshore oil in 2007 – was always going to require strong leadership; Mills’s death only magnifies that necessity. But if this year’s elections hold the key to Ghana’s future, what issues will shape their outcome?

Read original post here: Will Ghana’s success story continue after John Atta Mills?

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

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