Ghana Shows Uneven Recovery as Growth Slows in First Quarter

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Ghana’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter as the recovery from last year’s slump struggles to gain momentum.

Gross domestic product expanded 3.1% from a year earlier, compared with 3.3% in the three months through December, Government Statistician Samuel Kobina Annim told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Accra. The economy grew 0.8% from the previous quarter.

West Africa’s second-largest economy is recovering from last year’s pandemic-related movement restrictions and a drop in oil prices that caused its first recession since at least 2007.

While Ghana fared better than most of its peers, where GDP contracted, output for 2020 expanded at the slowest pace in 37 years.

Manufacturing, which expanded 1.3% after contracting in the three months through December, was one of the main drivers of growth.

The agricultural sector slowed to 4.3%, compared with an 8.2% expansion in the previous quarter. Oil and gas contracted 16.2%, while the hospitality sector shrank 10.7%.

As Africa’s biggest gold producer, Ghana’s economy could benefit from the surge in the metal’s price over the last three months. The International Monetary Fund projects GDP growth of 4.6% this year and 6.1% in 2021.

An unexpected interest-rate cut by the central bank last month could further bolster the recovery and help offset the impact of new taxes and plans to narrow the budget deficit on spending.