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Political situation Striving for more cooperation in Africa
In December 2020, presidential and parliamentary elections took place which international observers judged to be free, transparent, largely fair and for the most part peaceful. President Nana Akufo-Addo was elected in the first round with just under 52 per cent of the votes. The voting for seats in parliament produced a stalemate: the two major parties now have 137 seats each, with one seat having been won by an independent candidate.
The government’s stated aim is to further the country’s industrialisation and modernisation by promoting the private sector. In its Ghana Beyond Aid reform strategy, the government has formulated its objective of becoming independent from international support in the long term.
Compared with other countries in the region, the human rights situation in Ghana is good and freedom of opinion is largely guaranteed. However, on the 2022 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, Ghana has slid down 30 places compared with a year earlier and is now 60th out of 180 countries. Civil society in Ghana actively uses the freedoms it has, with people involved in numerous initiatives and non-governmental organisations.
Gender equality for women is guaranteed under the constitution, but is not comprehensively realised. The traditional system of values that continues to be upheld leads to discrimination against women, especially in matters relating to property and inheritance. Many girls are married before reaching their majority.
Corruption is a major problem, particularly in the government, the police and the judiciary. In Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, Ghana has not moved from 43 points, the same position as it had the year before, which puts it in 73rd place out of 180 countries. Although the government has expressly pledged to fight corruption and has, for example, increased penalties quite considerably, in a 2022 study by the Ghanaian Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), 26.7 per cent of the people surveyed said that they had been asked by officials to pay a bribe in the past year.
Ghana is one of the most active of all the member states of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Within ECOWAS, the country has lobbied intensively for the signing of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. This Agreement will give Ghana and the region better access to the European single market. The European Union signed the Agreement in December 2014. Until all ECOWAS member states have signed, an interim EPA regulates trade between Ghana and the EU.
As at: 19/01/2023