Ghana economy shrinks for the first time in 37 years

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The country has officially declared 45,655 coronavirus cases and 294 deaths.

Ghana’s economy shrank 3.2 percent in the second quarter for the first time in 37 years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s chief statistician said Wednesday.

The West African nation of 30 million inhabitants imposed a three-week lockdown in parts of the country, including the capital Accra, in March to curb the spread of the virus.

The country has officially declared 45,655 coronavirus cases and 294 deaths.

Chief statistician Samuel Kobina Annim told reporters in Accra the lockdowns crippled businesses and hurt revenues.

“Even after the restrictions have been lifted, many businesses across sectors have continued to close down,” he said.

For the first time since 1983, when the country suffered a devastating drought, “Ghana’s economy has seen a contraction of 3.2 percent compared with a growth rate of 5.7 percent in the same quarter in 2019,” Annim said.

Ghana, a beacon of hope and stability in a turbulent region, is a major producer and exporter of gold, oil and cocoa.

Close to 50,000 firms in the manufacturing sector were directly hit by the restrictions, while the hospitality sector has recorded the highest dip in sales, by 76 percent compared to the same period a year ago, Annim said.

The government statistician was however optimistic that the economy would bounce back once the right measures were put in place.

“It is possible that we’re going to see a reversal in the contraction we are seeing,” he said.

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