Ghana has long been touted as one of Africa's few success stories. Over the past decade it experienced sustained growth with an average annual growth rate of around 6.8% fuelled by high commodity prices and favourable terms of trade. The country also enjoyed rapid progress in poverty reduction and strengthened its democratic credentials.
More recently, however, this success story has shown signs of strain. Ghana experienced a severe macroeconomic crisis, which risks reversing past development gains and could derail the future development path. As the country is moving up the income ladder, it has to navigate more complex domestic and external risks and challenges.
A vigorous reform commitment to deeper institutional reforms and structural change is required to sustain long-term growth and development in a global environment that is less benign and more uncertain than it was in the past New sources of growth must be unlocked to build an economy that is better able to withstand external and internal shocks.
SECO's Economic Development Cooperation
The Economic Cooperation and Development Division of SECO plans and implements economic cooperation and development activities with middle income countries, transition countries as well as the new member states of the European Union. SECO focuses its efforts on eight middle income priority countries, among them Ghana, and five transition countries. SECO strives to encourage sustainable and inclusive growth. The measures deployed by SECO are targeted towards achieving effective institutions and services, more and better jobs, increased trade and competitiveness and low-emission and climate resilient economies.
SECO's Economic Development Cooperation with Ghana
Ghana is one of thirteen priority countries of Switzerland's economic development cooperation implemented by SECO. Economic development cooperation is an important pillar of Switzerland's long and multi-faceted relationship with Ghana and complements the growing political, trade and investment flows between the two countries. Ghana represents Switzerland's second- largest trading partner in Africa, after South Africa
The overarching goal of the country strategy for 2017 to 2020 is to contribute to Ghana's inclusive and resilient economic development for a stable and prosperous Ghana with opportunities for all. Switzerland will partner with Ghana to enable the country to better manage the risks and opportunities of moving up the income ladder and integrating into the global economy. It will focus in particular on building strong and accountable institutions that deliver effective public services and improving the competitiveness and diversification of the economy.
Objective 1: Strong and accountable institutions that deliver effective public services
Under this first objective, Switzerland focuses on building strong and accountable institutions for economic and fiscal management and public service delivery. Sound economic and fiscal management and effective public services are among the basic building blocks of making economic development more resilient and inclusive through lowering vulnerability to domestic and external shocks and providing more and better public services to a wider segment of the population. This requires addressing the triple challenges of improving public financial management, strengthening the capacity of local governments and public utilities to deliver basic services and enhancing institutional capacity and accountability.
Switzerland proposes to respond to these challenges with a combination of measures. Switzerland will prioritize, on the one hand, strengthened public financial management including revenue mobilization and, on the other hand, reliable basic public services with an emphasis on integrated urban development and sustainable energy supply.
Switzerland will continue to strengthen the institutions for macroeconomic and fiscal management with an emphasis on domestic revenue mobilization at the national level and expanding it to the local level, including by enhancing accountability mechanisms for managing natural resource revenues. Switzerland will address financial and institutional weaknesses in the delivery of basic public services at the local level and complement this with efforts to promote effective fiscal decentralization and more efficient use of public resources.
Switzerland supports efforts to widen access to and improve the quality of the delivery of public services in the energy sector, in particular by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. Switzerland will focus on improving the quality of public services in urban spaces by expanding infrastructure and building the institutional capacity to plan and implement urban policies and deliver urban services.
Objective 2: Improved competitiveness and diversification of the economy
Under the second objective, Switzerland focuses on improving the competitiveness and diversification of the economy. A competitive, productive and diversified private sector with access to regional and global markets is the driving force behind a more resilient and inclusive economic development through lowering the dependence on few economic sectors and providing more and better income and job opportunities to a wider segment of the population. Improving the competitiveness and diversification of the economy requires addressing the triple challenges of removing basic structural impediments to growth, improving the competitiveness and productivity of the private sector and building human capital.
Switzerland proposes to respond to these challenges with a combination of measures. Switzerland will prioritize three business lines: efficient business environment (i), greater international competitiveness of SMEs and facilitated market access (ii) and dynamic entrepreneurship, strengthened expertise and flexible labour markets (iii). Contingent on the reform commitment, Switzerland will engage with the government to address structural constraints to growth by supporting regulatory reforms of the general or sector-specific business environment with an emphasis on easing business regulations, formalizing SMEs, facilitating trading across borders and improving access to capital.
Switzerland will continue to promote the competitiveness and productivity of SMEs and facilitate their access to domestic and global markets by developing and expanding sustainable, integrated value chains such as in the agricultural sector, while also encouraging the more efficient and climate-friendly use of productive resources to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Switzerland will support skills development by strengthening the professional and technical expertise, facilitating access to professional training, and building the entrepreneurial and technical capacities of SMEs.