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General News of Thursday, 12 January 2023


Ghana's IMF engagement under Mahama one of the most open in the world - Oxfam

Ghana has sealed a Staff-Level Agreement with IMF in 2022 for a US$3bn facility Ghana has sealed a Staff-Level Agreement with IMF in 2022 for a US$3bn facility

Oxfam, the bloc of global organizations fighting against poverty has ranked Ghana's engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015 as one of the most open processes globally.

In a report authored by Oxfam, the openness was grounded in how the then-government approached the fund leveraging on consultations with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

IMANI Africa's Bright Simons shared an extract from the report on Twitter with the caption: "Oxfam says Ghana's IMF engagement in 2015 was one of the most open in the world, with strong engagement by CSOs pushing a public interest agenda."

He added that as an actor in the CSO sector, he agreed with Oxfam: "I also find that the current IMF process is the opposite: with zero govt interest in openness & engagement."

Mahama's government goes to IMF

In 2015, Ghana’s economy was in trouble, hobbled by widening current account and budget deficits, rampant inflation, and a depreciating currency. Credit dried up as interest rates rose and banks’ bad loans piled up.

At the root of Ghana’s woes was out-of-control government spending, largely to pay salaries of an overgrown civil service.

The program

In early 2015, Ghana turned to the IMF for a $918 million loan to help stabilize the economy. IMF advisors, working with the Ghanaian government, developed a three-part program:

Extract from IMF report: Box 2: Ghana

Of all the case studies, Ghana represented the most successful example of meaningful engagement between CSOs and the IMF. This success was due to several factors which collectively amplified the power of Ghanaian civil society with respect to the IMF.

These included: the formation of a joint coalition of over 11 CSOs in 2014, known as the Civil Society Platform on the IMF Programme - now the Economic Governance Platform (EGP); structured preparation and capacity building among the coalition prior to and during IMF engagement; the support of Global North actors such as Oxfam in accessing IMF decision makers and political stakeholders at headquarters level; detailed research and published analysis of the issues up for discussion;*# and public-facing awareness and advocacy campaigns which included experts and stakeholders from different sectors.

These combined factors meant the coalition’s goals and concerns could not be ignored.

The Civil Society Platform on the IMF Programme [the Platform’) was principally responsible for ensuring the success of civil society negotiations with the IMF.