Ghana secures $1bn IMF loan in bid to revive economy

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Kingsley AdukpoImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Trader Kingsley Adukpo in his shop in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

Ghana has struck a deal with the International Monetary Fund aimed at stabilising its troubled economy.

The three-year deal follows months of talks prompted by the government's failure to meet targets on inflation, the budget deficit and growth.

The Ghanaian economy had been expanding at about 8% annually on the back of gold, cocoa and oil exports.

However, growth fell to 4.2% in 2014 as commodity prices fell and the currency depreciated.

The economic crisis has led to severe power shortages.

President John Dramani Mahama told parliament that he intended to fix the shortages, rather than "manage them".

Analysis: Akwasi Sarpong; BBC Africa

The IMF deal is a bitter bill for Ghana to swallow. People are eager to forget the harsh economic conditions of the 1980s under structural economic adjustment programmes.

This bailout is considered necessary for the restoration of investor confidence in a struggling economy beset by crippling electricity black-outs.

But President John Mahama's administration has a tough job ahead implementing austerity measures being prescribed by the IMF - a likely increase in fuel prices as a 17% petroleum tax is imposed, a freeze on hiring public sector workers and an end to costly energy subsidies.

Many Ghanaians will be asking the government tough questions about the use of taxes and revenue following the discovery of oil in recent years.

The IMF will provide Ghana with loans worth about $940m in instalments, beginning in April.

Joel Toujas-Bernate, head of the IMF's Africa division, said the short-term priority was to stabilise Ghana's economy.

Finance minister Seth Terkper said the agreement was expected to "make markets to react more positively" and encourage more support from donors.

The IMF now expects inflation in Ghana to fall to between 11% and 12% by the end of the year.

Growth should come in at 3.5% in 2015, it said, rising to between 5% and 6% by 2017.