The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has hinted that former President John Dramani Mahama could win the December 7 elections if the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is able to hold the NPP accountable to its unfulfilled campaign promises.
According to the Unit, the current administration has rolled out some successful programs such as the One District One Factory, which is expected to recover easily once the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
“Government’s ambitious industrialization program [One District-One Factory] is enjoying some success, with investment expected to recover once the virus subsides. Nonetheless, overall progress will continue to be hampered by structural weaknesses and regional imbalances,” the EIU report said.
It suggested that “if the NDC can present a coherent challenge and hold the NPP to account on its unfulfilled campaign promises—such as faster progress on infrastructural development—the elections could be closely contested.”
The report, however, stated that the NDC will find it difficult to persuade Ghanaians it will straighten issues under the watch of the former President John Dramani Mahama.
“We therefore expect Mr. Akufo-Addo and the NPP to secure re-election,” the EIU’s April 2020 report stated.
“The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the NPP to retain power, as the party is seen as a better custodian of the economy than the opposition National Democratic Congress,” the report added.
The EIU also said majority of Ghanaians blame the NDC flagbearer, John Mahama for the woes of Ghana’s economy and that will work against the party in the coming election.
The noted that the campaign for the 2016 election was dominated by public concerns over a faltering economy, which many Ghanaians still associate with Mr. Mahama, adding that ahead of this year’s election, the NPP has focused on infrastructure development, such as improving internet and electricity access, as well as roads in rural areas.
The report also observed the NPP has outlined ambitious growth plans for cash-crop yields, which would bolster rural incomes, saying that despite the uncertainties posed by the pandemic, the EIU believes it will be difficult for the NDC under Mr. Mahama to portray itself as the better custodian of Ghana’s economy.
It project that, driven by falling oil prices and operational difficulties in some oilfields, the economy will contract by 1% in 2020, adding that real GDP growth will then rebound to an average of 5.7% a year in 2021-24, as the impact of the pandemic fades and oil prices and output both recover.
EIU also believes going forward, government’s industrialization push and moves to strengthen the banking sector will benefit non-oil economic growth over the medium-term, although the cost of capital will remain a constraint on some businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Following a marked weakening in 2020—reflecting a deteriorating current account position and investor nervousness ahead of the elections—the pace of cedi depreciation will slow in 2021-24 as the hydrocarbons sector ramps up production and prices rise. Inflation will average 8.6% in 2020-24, staying within the central bank’s 6-10% target range,” it said.
The report also predicted that the current-account deficit will gradually narrow in 2021-24 as external conditions improve, reaching 0.3% of GDP by the end of the forecast period.