Ghana’s growth slows to 2.9% in the third quarter, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2021

Ghana’s growth slows to 2.9% in the third quarter, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2021

Growth has slowed since the resumption of the post-COVID pandemic in 2021, as Ghana grapples with runaway inflation, a depreciated local currency and spiraling debt.

The West African country, which is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a generation, defaulted on most of its external debt on Monday.

Economic woes have been a central theme of street protests this year. In an attempt to stabilize the economy, the government negotiated a $3 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Its approval is conditional on a full debt restructuring.

Government statistician Samuel Kobina Annim said the third-quarter growth figure was the lowest since the economy grew 3.1% in the first quarter of 2021.

“This is the weakest growth since the economy started rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Annim told reporters.

Growth in the third quarter of this year was driven by the agricultural sector, where most of the growth came from fishing.

Industry saw the slowest growth, with its manufacturing sub-sector down 7.4% but mining up 14.9%.

Ghana has revised growth for the first quarter of this year to 3% and 4.7% for the second quarter from 3.3% and 4.8% respectively, Annim added.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said in his budget speech last month that growth is expected to slow to 3.7% in 2022 – from 5.4% in 2021 – and reach 2.8% in 2023.

The government of the gold and cocoa producing nation has been unable to revive the economy despite aggressive spending cuts and several central bank interest rate increases.

He has already announced a domestic debt swap program and said external restructuring was being negotiated with creditors.

The cedi had lost nearly 59% of its value against the dollar this year, but rebounded significantly following debt restructuring announcements this month.