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General News of Monday, 12 December 2016

Source: thebftonline.com

Ghana's next leader under pressure to deliver

Ghana's President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo needs to act fast to deliver on his campaign promise to create jobs, restore rapid growth, build a dam in every village and a factory in every district if he is to satisfy an electorate eager for change.

Voters gave President John Mahama just one four-year term before they wielded the axe, rejecting him in an election on Wednesday that cemented Ghana's reputation for democratic accountability in a region scarred by civil wars and coups.

"If in three years they (the New Patriotic Party) haven't created enough jobs they could face the same voter backlash that Mahama faced," pollster and newspaper publisher Ben Ephson told Reuters.

Falls in prices for Ghana's gold, cocoa and oil exports helped sink Mahama. The country is emerging from a fiscal crisis of elevated inflation and debt under the supervision of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

But new oil and gas is set to come onstream in 2017 and 2018 from a $7.9 billion offshore field being developed by Italy's ENI which the government says will boost revenue and aid longstanding domestic power problems.

At the same time, a recovery in gold prices in the past year should help Ghana's major gold producers who include Newmont, while cocoa farmers say they are hoping for a strong 2016-17 crop.

In a victory speech on Friday, Akufo-Addo, a former foreign minister, acknowledged the pressure to deliver for impatient voters.

"I make this solemn pledge to you tonight: I will not let you down. I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations," he said.