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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Columnist: Ampong, Charles Horace

Ghana ranks as 75th best country for business

Ghana ranks as 75th best country for business (5th best in Africa) – 2010

According to the Forbes Best Countries for Business ranking released in 2010 Ghana was placed in the 75th position out of 128 countries. The ranking implied Ghana was 5th best in Africa and the best in West Africa. Ghana however was preceded by countries like South Africa(34th), Botswana(52nd), Namibia (57th) and Tunisia(66th ). The country also finished ahead of four of the BRIC countries namely India(77th), China(90th) and Russia(97th). Brazil was the only exemption of the BRIC countries that was better ranked than Ghana (ranking 62nd). Forbes best countries for business report is an annual ranking of the best countries for business examining 128 countries on 11 categories including but not limited to gross domestic product(GDP) growth, GDP per capita, Trade balance and Public spending as a percentage of GDP, property rights, technology, corruption, personal freedom, investor protection and stock market performance. The ranking compilations also encompassed research and published reports from the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA), Freedom House, Heritage Foundation, Property Rights Alliance, Transparency International, World Bank and World Economic Forum. The data regarding Ghana’s rank of 75 out of 128 countries included the following statistics;

GDP growth rate percentage = 3.5%

GDP per capita = $1500

Trade balance as a percentage of GDP = - 9.3%

Federal Budget Balance as a percentage of GDP = 55.2%

Population = 23.9 million

Also, the report revealed that United States dropped from 2nd position in the previous ranking to 9th position in the current ranking. It gave some of the reasons for United States loosing its competitive edge as business climate lag (for entrepreneurs and investors), high unemployment rate, weak housing market, high corporate tax of 35% coupled with an impaired trade and monetary freedom. Nevertheless, the United States still holds global superiority when it comes to innovation. Interestingly, Venezuela was ranked as the least country (128th) for business being preceded by Zimbabwe (127th). Now, the Top ten countries were

1. Denmark

2. Hong Kong

3. New Zealand

4. Canada

5. Singapore

6. Ireland

7. Sweden

8. Norway

9. United States

10. United Kingdom

According to the report, also for the third consecutive year, Denmark in spite of the impact of global economic problems was ranked the world’s best country for Business. Denmark with an estimated population of 5.5 million, GDP/capita of $36,000 had its GDP growth down by 4.7% in 2009. Its trade balance as a percentage of GDP was 2.9 and federal budget balance as a percentage of GDP equal to 41.6.

Finally, the ranking may have more weight and strength comparatively as it is based on corporate detailed report and research from prominent international organizations. Ultimately, it does paint a good picture of the business climate in Ghana and can stimulate inflow of foreign investors in the immediate to long term. In fact, it could be a precursor to an expectant massive inflow of investors to Ghana in the near future.

By Charles Horace Ampong