Ghana, with a population of about 30 million people, is in the throes of economic transformation, brought about primarily by its newly acquired status as an oil and natural gas producer.
Commercial oil production commenced in December 2010 from the Jubilee oilfield offshore of the country’s Western Region. Although production is still relatively low at about 200,000 barrels a day, the prospects for increased production are good.
Successive governments have made efforts to diversify the country’s economy – promoting manufacturing and commercial agriculture, among others, to overcome an over-reliance on the commodity markets.
Ghana has indeed come full circle, initially blazing the trail of Pan-Africanism under its charismatic first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, then falling under the hammer of successive totalitarian military regimes before regaining continental pre-eminence over the past three decades following economic liberalisation and a return to democratic governance.
Remittances, money sent by migrants to their home countries, are a major source of forex inflow for most African countries. The funds support hundreds of millions of families in the continent as they help take care of the elderly, pay for education and healthcare, and provide seed capital to small business start-ups.
Last year, for example, African countries received $48 billion in remittances. The major sources of global remittances are the US, UK, the EU, China, and the Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE. However, these countries are currently experiencing economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, with unemployment rates at historic highs.