John Mahama, Ghana’s incumbent president, delivered a speech before the launch of the National Democratic Congress’ manifesto on Tuesday which outlined the ruling party’s plans for the electorate over the next four years.
John Mahama is, of course, hoping to come back for another term after the country’s December Presidential elections. His speech went beyond the norm to focus on key policy plans rather than political attacks on the opposition, New Patriotic Party, which would not have been unexpected considering his audience had been made up of many party faithfuls.
President Mahama rather attempted to detail the coming government’s plans to grow the economy. He focused on areas such as the cocoa, oil and gold sectors which are to be harnessed in ways that will benefit the population of about 26 million.
John Mahama is in the race for his final four-year term in office and his speech covered a lot of ground from what he would aim to achieve in energy, infrastructure, health, and education. He also outlined plans on topics ranging from prison reform to mental health care, going as far as proposing a plan to provide help for ageing and impoverished musicians.
His speech lasted almost two hours and the audience sometimes interrupted him with shouts of “Four more years!”. He said at a point;
“The manifesto highlights contain policies and programs that will consolidate the achievements so far chalked up and, in addition, introduce new plans that will launch Ghana into a new era of accelerated growth and the transformation of the economy.”
Mahama enthused that gross domestic product growth would be more than 8 percent next year, up from a forecast 4.1 percent in 2016, and the budget deficit would fall to 4.9 percent of GDP this year from an initial projection of 5.3 percent.
He also stated that public-private partnerships would be introduced in the country’s cocoa industry, which is the second largest in the world, in order to raise production to more than 1 million tonnes a year from around 750,000 tonnes.
Of far more importance to the electorate than good plans and promises is the question of how the candidates will fund their pledges. This pressure stems from the fact that the country is following a three-year International Monetary Fund program designed to restore macroeconomic stability. Neither party has, however, been able to spell out the cost of their plans and how they will be funded.
Ghana has one of the most stable democracies in Africa and if the people are dissatisfied with a government, they do not hesitate to turn it out of power at the next elections, hence, John Mahama really has to impress the electorate if he hopes to get his second term.