Country Session 1: Ghana

In the first part of the Ghana session at Growth Week 2013, Jaun Pablo Rud (Royal Halloway) presented the findings from his study on Modern Industries and Pollution and Agriculture. The paper concludes that farms that are within a 20mile radius of a mine are likely to experience up to a 40% reduction in productivity, therefore explicit efforts need to be made to address the redistributive effects of mining to the local community. The discussant, Doris Dartey (Graphic Communications Group) was happy with the paper but asked for clarity on the methodology.

Greg Fisher (LSE) presented his paper on Exporting “Good” Human Resource Practices which finds that, contrary to expectations, workers in Ghana do not respond significantly to pay incentives. This finding motivates the question: are there cultural elements to how people respond to incentives across countries? The discussion for the paper was led by Quame Aboagye (University of Ghana Business School) with comments on the implication of the job type chosen for the field experiment; the effects of relative pay; the role of job security and culture.

The panel discussion in the second part of the Ghana session looked at key policy research questions that IGC-Ghana should focus on in the Country Strategy Note. Alhassan Iddrissu (Ministry of Finance) spoke on Macroeconomic stability. He called for studies that look at ways of expanding the tax net to cover informal sector which is estimated to be about 70% of the economy. Sam Dapaah (Ministry of Food and Agriculture) proposed a study on creating a financial product that enables/helps farmers to earn money outside agriculture by making regular payments into an investment account which then allows the farmers to borrow without collateral from the bank that manages the fund. Under the theme of Human Capital Development, Yaw Baah (Trade Union Congress of Ghana) spoke on the need to start collecting regular labour market data for Ghana. While John Hawkins Asiedu (Ministry of Trade and Industry) called for studies that evaluate the extent to which government is crowding out the Private Sector.

The last panellist, Emmanuel Akwetey (Institute for Democratic Governance) called for the need to try understanding the roots of corrupt practices and the incentives needed to reduce and eliminate them. He also called for studies that look at how decisions are made on policy options and how they are implemented. The session was very well attended with representation from Zambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Tanzania.