Wednesday, February 12, 2014
When will neo-colonial economics ever end?
How can a problem and its solution be known for decades and never be solved? The local currency continues to lose its value against the dollar because there is a high demand for expensive value added imports that have to be purchased in dollars. Rather than taking advantage of this difference to export manufactured goods abroad like China, Ghana instead continues to be heavily reliant upon the extraction of just a few unprocessed resources. There was recently a five week strike of dock workers refusing to load cocoa on to ships for export. Cocoa is the single largest foreign exchange earner for the country of Ghana. This meant that while Ghana was still importing a huge amount of finished goods that had to be paid for in dollars it earned no money from its single largest revenue generator. This has seriously depressed the value of the Ghanaian Cedi and with it my salary. When I first arrived in Ghana in 2011 the exchange rate was $1 to 1.6 cedis. It is now $1 to 2.55 cedis. There are quality goods that Ghana produces that it could produce in mass quantities to satisfy both domestic demand and create an export market. These goods include pharmaceuticals, textiles, and processed foods like shito sauce, ground nut paste, and fruit juice. But, except for shito sauce none of these goods are produced in sufficient quantity even to meet domestic demand. Throughout Ghana you see pharmaceuticals imported from Europe, textiles imported from China, ground nut paste imported from the US, and fruit juice imported from Turkey and South Africa.