World Bank Says Ghana Needs $26 Billion for Infrastructure

Ghana needs to spend $26 billion on infrastructure such as roads and electricity to support economic growth led by the start of oil production for export in 2010, according to the World Bank.

The investments to “upgrade basic infrastructure” should have started that year, Dante Mossi, senior operations officer with the World Bank’s office in the West African nation, said in an interview in Accra, the capital, yesterday.

“Ghana needs to keep up with the growth of the economy and the growing needs of the people,” he said.

The West African nation’s economy, with a gross domestic product of 74 billion cedis ($38 billion) forecast for this year by the International Monetary Fund, grew 14.4 percent in 2011, the fastest pace in sub-Saharan Africa. This year, expansion of 9.4 percent is projected, according to the Finance Ministry. The IMF forecasts growth of 8.8 percent.

The country needs to invest in energy, roads, water, sanitation, education, housing and employment creation, Mossi said.

Ghana, which is Africa’s second-biggest gold producer after South Africa and the world’s second-largest cocoa grower after neighboring Ivory Coast, started output at the offshore Jubilee oil field, operated by U.K.-based Tullow Oil Plc (TLW), in December 2010.

The rapid pace of economic growth led to a 16 percent decline against the dollar this year as companies seek dollars to boost their investments. The cedi has since slowed its declined, losing 0.8 percent in July and less than 0.1 percent this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency gained 0.4 percent to 1.945 a dollar by 9:51 a.m. in Accra.

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