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The stalled construction site of the National Cathedral of Ghana, in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. 

The stalled construction site of the National Cathedral of Ghana, in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. 

Photographer: Nipah Dennis/Bloomberg
Business
The Big Take

Emerging-Market Debt Is Sliding Into Distress. Just Look at Ghana

The West African country was a magnet for foreign investment, pitching itself as business-friendly and politically stable. Now it offers a cautionary tale. 

A few blocks from Ghana’s statehouse in Accra sits a 14.5 acre parcel of prime real estate with a football field-sized hole in the middle of it. What should be emerging from the ground is the frame and sweeping, concave roof of the futuristic 5,000-seat National Cathedral of Ghana. Instead the project has stalled, a victim of an economic crisis in the West African country, which was until recently one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a magnet for foreign investment.

The cathedral’s original price tag of $100 million has quadrupled amid an economic crisis that has seen record inflation and the cedi, the world’s worst performing currency this year, lose close to 60% of its value — almost double that of Ukraine.