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Ghana’s Central Bank Governor Nominated as Vice President

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- President John Dramani Mahama nominated Bank of Ghana Governor Kwesi Amissah-Arthur to be his deputy in West Africa’s second-biggest economy, a week after the death of John Atta Mills.

The appointment of Amissah-Arthur, a former deputy finance minister, was announced to lawmakers in Accra, the capital, today and referred to the Parliament’s appointments committee, Speaker Joyce Bamford-Addo said during proceedings.

The nomination signals “Ghana’s resolve to persevere with a disciplined approach to spending,” Joe Abbey, an economist with the Accra-based Centre for Policy Analysis, said by phone today. “It shows a leaning towards consolidating economic gains.”

During Amissah-Arthur’s central bank tenure, inflation slowed from 18 percent in his first month in office in October 2009 to 9.4 percent in June. This year, he raised the policy lending rate 2.5 percentage points to 15 percent to cool economic growth and reverse a weakening in the local currency.

Yield Falls

The yield on Ghana’s $750 million Eurobond, due 2017, fell by 5.8 basis points, or 0.058 percentage point, to 5.589 percent by 12:06 p.m. in Accra, the lowest in 2 1/2 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The cedi weakened 0.2 percent to 1.9575 a dollar.

The governor “comes with a wide range of experience and knowledge and will also have a good working relationship with the president,” John Jinapor, Mahama’s spokesman, said by phone yesterday.

Deputy Governor Kofi Wampah will take over as head of the Bank of Ghana until a formal appointment is made, he said in a phone interview from Accra.

“There won’t be any change in direction as I have always been involved in shaping the bank’s policies,” Wampah said. “Everything is proceeding as normal.”

Ghana raised its budget-deficit target for this year to 6.7 percent of gross domestic product on July 18 from a previous forecast of 4.8 percent, on projections for increased spending on wages and fuel subsidies and before elections scheduled for December. Mahama has been named the ruling National Democratic Congress party’s candidate for the vote that Mills planned to contest. In 2008, pre-vote expenses boosted the deficit to 14.5 percent of GDP.

The cedi has weakened 16 percent against the dollar this year after economic growth reached 14.4 percent in 2011, the fastest pace in Africa, boosted demand for dollars. Expansion in the $31 billion economy is expected to reach 9.4 percent this year, according to the Finance Ministry.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ekow Dontoh in Accra at edontoh@bloomberg.net; Pauline Bax in Accra at pbax@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

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