Ghana: Don't Betray the Trust of the IFC

opinion

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is to invest nearly $2 billion in the Ghanaian economy in the medium term to shore up the private sector.

The amount would help the sector build back from the effects of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

This is not surprising because the IFC was founded in 1956 on a bold idea that the private sector has the potential to transform developing countries and has since become the largest global development institution focused on that sector in developing countries.

As a member of the World Bank Group, it helps to advance economic development and improve the lives of people by encouraging the growth of the private sector.

Again, it is not surprising because as a member of the World Bank Group, it is always seeking opportunity to offer loans as investment for returns, though some interest-free loans are given on some occasions.

One other thing about IFC is that it is always specific about where its advances or loans should go and for what.

Thus, the IFC invests in companies through loans, equity investments, debt securities and guarantees; mobilises capital from other lenders and investors through loan participations, parallel loans and other means; and advises businesses and governments to encourage private investment and improve the investment climate.

With this in mind, the Ghanaian Times believes that the $2billion would be used for the purpose for which it is going to be given.

We are raising this issue because oftentimes, the public hears allegations of diversion and misappropriation of funds meant for certain projects and programmes based on which donors or the Bretton Woods institutions give loans and grants to countries.

When these allegations emerge, one of the questions that readily come to mind is whether the country's leadership did not plan for the loans or grants for which reason some of the moneys are misapplied or diverted, and even misappropriated.

This time, we are happy that the IFC has commended the Akufo-Addo administration for putting in place a clear plan for economic recovery, which makes it easier for the IFC to come in as a partner to support efforts to power the private sector to drive the recovery.

So far, a two-day retreat meant to strategise on how to align IFC's medium-term strategy to the priority areas outlined in the GH¢100 billion Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprise Support (CARES) Obaatanpa Programme has been held.

Discussions of the programme are said to have centred on the government strategic plan for the private sector development and unlocking long-term growth capital to support agribusiness and affordable housing under the synergised CARES and IFC Ghana strategy.

The IFC Vice President for Middle East and Africa, Sergio Pimenta, is quoted as saying that, "This is the first time we're holding such a broad consultation with the Government of Ghana, including the period before the pandemic. The timing too is just right.

"As the Akufo-Addo administration begins its second term mandate, the needs are urgent, and government's roadmap is clear. For us at IFC, this is an opportunity to go deeper into the Ghana CARES plan, to understand government's top priorities, and thereby ensure that whatever we do supports and advances Ghana's self-determined path to be economically stronger and more resilient than before the pandemic."

The Ghanaian Times wishes to commend the IFC for its assistance, though it is at a cost to our dear nation, and also the government for its efforts to develop the private sector because it is the sector that drives every economy, particularly as it creates most of the jobs for the people.

Our greatest appeal is that the trust of IFC must not be betrayed.

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