By Pascal Kafu Abotsi
Political instability and civil conflicts have given Ghana an economic advantage over Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, research conducted by United States-based Heritage Foundation has established.
Ghana scored an average of 63 in this year’s Index of Economic Freedom, while Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire had 52.2, 52.3 and 60.0 respectively.
A presentation by James Roberts, a research fellow for Economic Freedom and Growth at the Foundation, in respect of Ghana’s performance in this year’s Index of Economic Freedom in Accra yesterday, showed that Ghana performed well in all four main pillars used for the assessment – Rule of Law, Government Size, Regulatory Efficiency and Open Markets.
Under Rule of Law, Ghana scored 50 points placing 54th in the area of Property Rights, while Freedom from Corruption earned it 48 points, which placed it 63rd. Government Size was sub-divided into Fiscal Freedom and Government Spending. Whereas the former scored the country 84.9 ranking it 51st that of the latter was 77 points, which made it occupy the 53rd position.
Business Freedom, Labour Freedom and Monetary formed the categorisations of Regulatory Efficiency. For Business Freedom, Ghana had 61.5 points for which it clocked the 108th position and with 56.5, Labour Freedom landed the 110th position; the record for Monetary Freedom which gave it the 165th position, was 66.5 points.
Again, the West African country had 60.0 points in the global Index of Economic Freedom, which rank was 38th, under Open Markets.
Trade Freedom situated the country at the 148th position with an average of 65.0 points, whereas Investment Freedom fetched it the 83rd position with 60 points.
Mr Roberts explained that the “Economic Freedom Results provide compelling evidence that economic dynamism is best sustained when governments institutionalise economic policies that empower individuals.”
He added that when people had more choices, they were more likely to engage in entrepreneurial activity, which in turn gave creates jobs, investment opportunities and the new products and services that enriched our lives.
“In many respects, economic freedom is just shorthand for an environment that encourages entrepreneurship. The Freedom index is designed to show the close correspondence between economic freedom and entrepreneurship opportunity,” he pointed out.
According to the 2016 Index, economic freedom improved worldwide for the fourth year in a row, with the average score up by three-tenths of a point from the previous year.
Of the 178 economies ranked, five made up of Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia earned the designation “free” with scores above 80. Canada, Chile, Ireland, Estonia and the United Kingdom completed the list of countries in the top ten performing economies.
North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, Congo Republic, Iran, Equatorial Guinea and Argentina formed the bottom 10 in this year’s economic freedom index.