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15.06.2004 Business & Finance

Growth must be propelled by structural change - Prof. Aryeetey

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Accra, June 15, GNA - Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research of the University of Ghana, Legon, on Monday called for a re-focusing of structural policies and the strengthening of institutions that would help the country achieve the desired growth and development.

He said although Ghana had long periods of relative stability with some remarkable achievements more than many other West African countries, this growth has been on the back of public investment and not propelled by structural change.

Prof. Aryeetey was speaking on "the state of Ghana's economy" at a symposium organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Accra. The symposium was under the theme: "The Economy, Productivity and Income Levels".

Prof. Aryeetey noted that the current and historical pattern of Ghana's economy hardly portrayed the required structural changes. He said while Ghana was regarded as being better-placed than most developing countries to achieve rapid growth at the time of independence because of a better potential in terms of average incomes, the absence of a sound budgetary situation and a well functioning public administration had made the results far less exciting.

This, he said, was as a result of non-conformity of policies with the principles of economics pursued by various governments. Prof. Aryeetey stressed that there should be a conscious and deliberate reform to change the structure of the country's economy because "the policies that have sustained Ghana's growth came from the textbooks of the IMF and World Bank."

He said they (IMF and World Bank) had a requirement to ensure that developing countries continued to use their economic framework much to the detriment of their development.

Prof Aryeetey said if Ghana should go beyond the current five percent growth rate, there was the need to fight poverty, build good institutions that would propel policies that would lead private sector the right way, as well as change the labour, land and financial markets to grow the economy.

Prof Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, noted that Ghana's economy seemed to be in transition most of the time.

He said the economy lacked the needed resilience to enable it to cope with both internal and external shocks, adding that the recent macroeconomic stability had been achieved before but was lost through a number of factors.

Prof Asenso-Okyere said what the economy needed was an expansion and a change in structure from dependence on primary exports to value addition for import substitution and exports.

He said by so doing, jobs would be created to reduce unemployment, thus lowering poverty and increasing prosperity to a large number of Ghanaians. 15 June 04

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