Ghana, a country with a good reputation for democracy, human rights, governance and economic growth in Africa, endured a difficult 2022.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict inflicted economic pain, leaving the country at the doors of the International Monetary Fund. The year also saw protests over a mobile money transaction levy and a hardline anti-LGBTQI bill. Illegal mining also increased as the government admitted it had lost control of the situation.
The Conversation Africa’s academic authors captured all these issues in four insightful articles.
A draconian law in the offing
On 29 June 2021, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 was introduced in parliament. Its aim was to “proscribe the promotion of and advocacy for LGBTQ+ practice”.
The bill became the subject of global criticism on human rights grounds. Its supporters have argued that it is essential to preserve Ghanaian society. Martin Odei Agei provides a philosophical perspective on why many Africans oppose homosexuality and argues that being gay and being culturally African need not be seen as a contradiction.
An economy on its knees
Ghana has announced what it is calling a debt exchange programme as it seeks balance of payment support from the International Monetary Fund.
Economist Theo Acheampong explains that while debt restructuring is necessary, the government must admit its own failings in managing the economy and the funds that are available to it.
The introduction of an electronic transaction levy by the government in May in a bid to raise domestic revenue was met with political and civil resistance. The levy focused on mobile money transactions. Mike Rogan, Nana Akua Anyidoho, Max Gallien and Vanessa van den Boogaard estimate the levy’s likely impact on poor people.
The search for gold ravages the environment
Ghana’s position as one of the world’s top producers of gold has come at a price: the wanton destruction of land and vegetation and the chemical contamination of water. Government measures have not slowed down the degradation and pollution.
This has been blamed largely on the artisanal and small scale mining sector. Richard Kumah’s analysis explains the disconnect between the realities of these miners and the rules that govern them.