President John Dramani Mahama has debunked assertions that Ghana is trailing Ivory Coast in terms of development.
Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana show aired on Tuesday September 6, Mr Mahama said although Ghana had the second largest economy in West Africa, he disliked comparing countries because each country had its own peculiar problems.
In response to the question ‘Why are we lagging…Ivory Coast?’ Mr Mahama told show host Paul Adom-Otchere: “You used a very wrong [phrase] – ‘lagging behind’. We are not lagging …Ivory Coast and I normally don’t like to compare but we are definitely not lagging Ivory Coast. If you take the UN Human Development Indicators, aside from Cape Verde, Ghana is second in the whole of West Africa in terms of access to water, in terms of all the various human indicators. If you take the size of the economy, Ghana has the largest second economy in West Africa after Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire is third, and so I normally don’t like those comparisons because each country is at a different stage in its development and the circumstances in each country are peculiar.”
Touching on power generation between Ivory Coast and Ghana, Mr Mahama stated: “Cote d’Ivoire has gone through its own period where they didn’t have light. We had to exchange power. At times when they don’t have, we have given them, at times when we don’t have, they have given us. And so, it’s not something new.”
He added, “Since the ’70s, our two power systems have been interconnected with each other. Ghana had Akosombo Dam which we thought would never finish and so we had excess power and so we used to give Togo, Benin, and Cote d’Ivoire, but the results of climate change have changed things and aside from that, it’s a sign of our growing economy. Our economy has grown so fast that demand for power has ballooned and we have not been consistent in putting in enough generation to meet the demand. Aside from that, while demand was increasing, power from our hydro sources was going down because of the low level of the lake, because of climate change, less rainfall and all that. So, it’s been a very complex situation but I normally don’t want to place blame. I took responsibility to fix it and I believe that we do have some stability in our system now.”