How Did World Bank, IMF Policies Affect Ghana’s Economic Development?

How did policies imposed by World Bank and International Monetary Fund affect the development of Ghana’s economy as it recovered from the economic and political turmoil caused by a military coup in the 1960s? 

To Kwame Osei, a Ghanaian writer and historian, the lending institutions’ policies contributed to the economic slump that Ghana is experiencing at present.

Osei says the military coup in 1966 robbed Ghana of the chance to fully realize its economic potential, which according to him, the country was poised to fulfill under the leadership of then-president Kwame Nkrumah. He also accused western governments of raiding and plundering the country’s economy prior to the coup. Perpetrators of the said coup justified their actions by citing the corruption and abuses of Nkrumah’s government.

“This sabotage led to Ghana not being able to get credit as its revenue was not enough to continue the developmental projects that Dr. Nkrumah had initiated,” he claims.

Osei further alleges that Ghana’s economic took another plunge in the early 1980s under the government of the Provisional National Defense Council, during which the IMF and World Bank reportedly began their engagement in the country’s economy. He said Ghana’s economy became weak because of the World Bank’s economic advice.

“There were certain conditionalities that the World Bank/IMF inserted in the ERP [Economic Recovery Program] that the PNDC had no option but to accept in exchange for money to re-build Ghana after the mismanagement of the 1970’s,” Osei claims. “The biggest of which was the divestiture or privatization of state enterprises. This meant that many of the aforementioned state enterprises built by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah were either sold off to private investors or just left to rot.”

The introduction of such policies, which were not in line with national interest, contributed to the deterioration and not the development of the country’s economy, Osei argues.

He concludes: “The real change that Ghana needs is revolutionary leadership that will detach itself from the economic enslaving chains of the World Bank/IMF and enact policies that are in the national interest.”

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.