Ghana – a fragile success

New York Times Editorial today (free registration required) about Ghana’s success, against enormous odds, in making progress towards democracy and economic growth.

Ghanaians like to brag that they have passed the point of no return in making their humid patch of West Africa a functioning democracy with all the perks that brings: a free and vibrant press, steady though slow economic growth, tourism. There is even a shopping mall with a multiplex cinema going up in Accra. With such obvious payoffs for adopting good governance, many Ghanaians say it is inconceivable that the country will turn back to the failed-state practices that have taken so many other African countries down the drain. … Almost half of Ghana’s national budget comes from foreign aid; Britain is its largest single-country donor. But the size of the country’s budget, a scant $3 billion, supporting some 20 million people, is testament to just how far Ghana still has to go, and just how much more it still needs to climb out of poverty. British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s proposal for rich countries to drastically increase their aid to Africa in a Marshall Plan approach would be a huge step toward helping to bring the continent back into the folds of the rest of the world. Ghana shows what a tough road this is going to be. But it also shows that bringing Africa back is eminently doable.

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