IMF and USA set to ruin Ghana 111

Just ten years ago, Ghana had the most reliable electricity supply in all of Africa and the highest percentage of households connected to the grid in all of Africa – including South Africa. The Volta River Authority, the power producer and distributor was, in my very considerable experience, the best run and most efficient public utility in all of Africa. Indeed it was truly world class, and Ghana was proud of it.

Obviously the sight of truly successful public owned and run enterprise was too much of a threat to the neo-liberal ideologues of the IMF and World Bank. When Ghana needed some temporary financial assistance (against a generally healthy background) the IMF insisted that VRA be broken up. Right wing neoliberal dogma was applied to the Ghanaian electricity market. Electricity was separated between production and distribution, and private sector Independent Power Producers introduced.

The result is disaster. There are more power cuts in Ghana than ever in its entire history as an independent state. Today Ghana is actually, at this moment, producing just 900 MW of electricity – half what it could produce ten years ago. This is not the fault of the NDC or the NPP. It is the fault of the IMF.

Those private sector Independent Power Producers actually provide less than 20% of electricity generation into the grid – yet scoop up over 60% of the revenues! The electricity bills of Ghana’s people go to provide profits to fat cat foreign corporations and of course the western banks who finance them.

Indeed in thirty years close experience the net result of all IMF activity in Africa is to channel economic resources to westerners – and not to ordinary western people, but to the wealthiest corporations and especially to western bankers.

Not content with the devastation they have already caused, the IMF and the USA are now insisting on the privatisation of ECG, the state utility body which provides electricity to the consumer and bills them. The rationale is that a privatised ECG will be more efficient and ruthless in collecting revenue from the poor and from hospitals, clinics, schools and other state institutions.

Doubtless it will be. It will of course be more efficient in channelling still more profits to very rich businessmen and bankers. I suspect that is the real point. That privatised utilities bring better service and cheaper prices to the consumer has been conclusively and forever disproven in the UK. What it does bring is huge profits to the rich and misery to the poor. To unleash this on Ghana is acutely morally reprehensible.

Ghana has a political culture in which the two main parties, NDC and NPP, heatedly blame each other for their country’s problems. But if they only can see it, in truth the electricity sector has been ruined by their common enemy – the IMF and World Bank. I pray that one day the country will escape the grip of these bloodsucking institutions.

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111 thoughts on “IMF and USA set to ruin Ghana

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  • Ishmael

    “Only with the collapse of the western financial systems can the world have any chance of recovery.”

    And western hypocrisy.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Abe Rene,

    Consider this:-

    ” The IMF is a lender of last resort to countries facing serious economic imbalances.

    On the left, IMF conditionality is typically viewed as harsh, intrusive, and ineffective; on the right, the habitual objection is that policy conditions are not enforced by polytrickshams/kleptocrats. The Fund is working with “hopes” rather than “facts”.

    Faced with these criticisms, the IMF has accepted that the proliferation of policy conditions have gone too far……

    IMF structural adjustment and austerity programs retard social stability and lead to cutting of public spending and increasing taxes in order to bring budgets closer to a balance. Former Senior Vice President at the World Bank Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote in “Globalization and Its Discontents,” “the purpose of the IMF is no longer valid … they are reflecting the interests and ideology of the Western financial community.”

    Banksters on Wall St., Paris, London, Berlin are not happy….Iceland found that out years ago and Greece is now about to put a monkey wrench in the spokes of these Gangsters. Blackmailing the blackmailers; an interesting scenario”

  • Ben

    “May you live in interesting times…” Chinese curse.

    “The now embattled Tsipras government has decided to implement a a bank holiday … all of next week!
    Under that decision, the next open day for banks will be Monday, July 6, a day after an unprecedented call for a referendum. The government said the decision came after a request by the Bank of Greece.

    According to reports, the bank holiday will last throughout the week, with the maximum daily withdrawal reportedly set at a … princely 60 euros.

    Another unconfirmed report deal with whether ATMs will function on Monday at all, given that technical modifications are necessary to cap withdrawals.”

  • Tim

    CB – so you do seem to agree that the World Bank, Stigliz at least, is not the IMF

  • lysias

    Bank holiday? So, when Tsipras said the equivalent of “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” in his speech yesterday, that wasn’t the only leaf he was taking from Franklin Roosevelt’s book.

  • Macky

    Abe Rene; “Same to Greece – they’ve been living beyond their means for years, and now it’s time to face reality.”

    This “they brought upon themselves” narrative, also echoed by some of Craig’s past comments, is nothing more than a lazy & misleading general characterisation; The vast majority of Greek people are hardworking and resourceful. Hardly any of them had the slightest connection with the causes of mounting Greek national debt, which arose for the same reasons the massive debts of the UK and other Euro nations accrued, only made worst by the original cooking of the EU Entry books by Goldman Sachs, the impact of the recession that hit just after the massive expenditure on the Olympic Games, and by the corruption of the Military Industrial Complex, which has seen Greece in the recent period, indulging on such a mad spending spree, at a time of supposed austerity, that it become one of the largest arms purchasers in all of Europe; spending borrowed money that when straight back to German, US & French Arms companies.

    Considering this is in the Guardian, it’s not a bad piece by Zoe Williams;

  • lysias

    Some people in the Greek elites may have helped to bring this on, but so did the foreign banks that lent to Greece, and Goldman Sachs, which engineered the Greek government’s lies, and the foreign governments that accepted those lies. The responsibility of average Greeks is minimal.

  • Not PC

    Being Greek their Finance Ministers eyes were firmly fixed on the wrong hole, that falsehood has pervaded their society. That €400b debt is all stashed away in Swiss Banks, a tax regime that openly allowed such chicanery, surely Fritz should not now be expected to pay for Stavros to retire early? The UK also has approx £1500 billion of such deposts in Swiss banks too for which on which Osborne negotiated an annual withholding tax of £500m to perpetuity with the Swiss Authorities,instead of coming down hard on the depositers.

    And we have Osborne doing exactly the same with the UK National Debt as we speak and all our accountants have turned Greek too, leaving the next generations to go Greek.

  • Salford Lad

    John Perkins book,;’ Confessions of an Economic Hitman’; describes how Washington loots and pillages a sovereign country using the IMF and World Bank as their tool.
    Unsustainable debt is issued to the targeted country, followed by demands for austerity on social services and privatization of infrastructure.
    If it sounds familiar. these are the same tactics used by the EU on Greece and the other PIIGS.
    Margaret Thatcher carried out this script in the UK 30 YEARS AGO. So much for Scotlands Independence ,should they opt to join the EU.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    What Ghana needs is Good Governance. For a large consideration, arranged via Abu Dhabi, the Africa Governance Initiative (prop HE Tony Blair the Great) will install a team of suits in Accra. He Himself may fly in from time to time, to stay in the Labadi Beach Hotel and talk to the Minister for Mining and Exploitation. You may not get any more electricity, but I’m damn sure he will.

    Surprised AGI isn’t there already, but it doesn’t seem to be.

  • nevermind

    ‘Some people in the Greek elites may have helped to bring this on, but so did the foreign banks that lent to Greece, and Goldman Sachs, which engineered the Greek government’s lies, and the foreign governments that accepted those lies. The responsibility of average Greeks is minimal.’

    The Greek elites have, with the help of UK immigration and border staff, smothered London property speculators with their ill gotten gains. Those who say that the operators of tax havens, eager to stop money from working in our markets, are as guilty as the greek Government and Goldman Sachs.

    Osborne’s been berated by US negotiators for repeatedly stopping an international accord by objecting to minor points and general dithering. This Government has accelerated the Greek downfall by making it easy for its elite to siphon money out of the Greek economy, so are the Swiss, offering no questions asked secret banking for decades.

    Whether they also helped Ghana’s elite/multinational operators is not impossible.

    Again, why does Ghana not show the IMF were to get off by nationalising the energy sector?

  • Macky

    Not PC; “surely Fritz should not now be expected to pay for Stavros to retire early?”

    Well as least you are aptly named, for what is a common repeated canard bordering on racist stereotyping which some commentators about the Greece just can’t help themselves indulging in. The actual figures shows how false this nonsense is;

    “The figure of 53 years old as an average retirement age is being bandied about. So much so, that it is has become folk-fact. It originates from a lazy comment on the New York Times website. It was then repeated by Fox News and printed in other publications. Greek civil servants have the option to retire after 17.5 years of service, but this is on half benefits. The figure of 53 is a misinformed conflation of the number of people who choose to do this (in most cases to go on to different careers) and those who stay in public service until their full entitlement becomes available.

    Looking at Eurostat’s data from 2005 the average age of exit from the labour force in Greece (indicated in the graph below as EL for Ellas) was 61.7; higher than Germany, France or Italy and higher than the EU27 average. Since then Greece have had to raise the minimum age of retirement twice under bail-out conditions and so this figure is likely to rise further.”

    Nevermind; “The Greek elites have, with the help of UK immigration and border staff, smothered London property speculators with their ill gotten gains”

    Very good point, very rarley mentioned; The UK Government as delibrate policy to attract wealthy foreigners, including a considerable numbers of the Greek super rich, shipping owners etc, have turned the UK into another tax havens to match Monaco & Switzerland.

    “the UK has a gigantic sign hanging over it saying, “Rich People! Come and Live Here! You Won’t Have to Pay Any Tax!” It is an extraordinary policy for any developed nation, and not one that anyone else has been tempted to adopt”

  • Ben


    “Russia has gained a military foothold in Europe after Vladimir Putin signed a controversial deal with Cyprus to dock warships there.

    British MPs said Nicosia’s decision to let the Russian navy, including heavily armed frigates, use its ports for counter-terrorism and anti-piracy was ‘worrying and disappointing’.

    Cyprus, an EU member, thrashed out the agreement despite already hosting two British military bases and 3,200 troops. President Putin insisted the deal ‘should not cause worries anywhere’.

    But Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who was visiting Moscow, hinted Russian warplanes could also be allowed to use a military airbase in Paphos, on the south-west coast of the island.

    The deal raised eyebrows as tensions between the West and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine continue to rise.
    It will be watched warily by the UK, which has led calls for a string of punishing economic sanctions against Moscow for arming pro-Kremlin separatists who have taken over huge swathes of territory.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • Mary

    Are Renault in Ghana? If so, pity the customers.

    Whilst looking up the link to Lord McDonald and Cherie Blair co-founding Matrix Chambers (on the Janner thread) I spotted that Cherie has got herself a directorship at Renault. She must be getting desperate for more shekels and they must need their heads examining.

    I had a Renault from new until 2012. It was the worst car I have ever owned.

    That was written in March. Yes. She got it.

  • Edward

    I hope the Asia Development Bank can allow countries to avoid IMF/World Bank coercion.

  • Mary

    What would Jesus say? This is absolutely disgusting of the CoE.

    Tell the Church not to support the arms trade

    Today, Church House, home to the administrative headquarters of the Church of England, is hosting a military conference sponsored by some of the world’s largest arms companies. It is due to host another on 14-15 July.

    UK-made arms have been used in conflicts and to support repression all over the world. The arms companies know they need public support to continue with this deadly trade – and one way they seek to normalise their work is to be associated with prestigious or ‘respectable’ locations.

    We have already persuaded numerous venues not to host arms dealers, including the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum and two Cathedrals – and by doing so we are denying the arms industry the legitimacy it seeks.

    Please ask Church House to break its links too. When we shut the arms dealers out, we are one step closer to shutting them down.

    As well as legitimising those who profit from death and destruction, profiting from the arms trade is also in conflict with the Church’s own position, which says “Our policy is not to invest in companies that supply or manufacture armaments.”

    St Paul’s Cathedral has already recognised that hosting events sponsored by arms companies is not acceptable.

    After many of you wrote to St Paul’s last year, it has introduced an ethical bookings policy which confirms that it “will not accept bookings, or sponsorship of bookings, from any company involved in indiscriminate weaponry or any company that receives more than 10% of revenue from the sale or production of weaponry more generally.”

    Please ask Church House to do the same: click here to sign our petition and say profiting from the arms trade is not acceptable.

    Thanks for taking action!

    Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Church House: stop supporting the arms trade
    Petition here

  • Macky

    The IMF is part of the,(cue dramtic music), The Black Hole ! ;

    “Back to Greece: tiny Greece certainly isn’t mighty Russia, but it nevertheless refused to capitulate to the demands of the black hole. It was asked to completely wreck its society and its economy as a condition for maintaining its financial lifelines from the IMF and the ECB. Most inconveniently for the black hole and its puppets, Greece is not some obscure “third world” country peopled by dark-skinned people you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry, but a European nation that is the cradle of European civilization and democracy. Greece managed to elect a government that tried to negotiate in good faith, but the puppets don’t negotiate—they demand, threaten and cause damage until they get their way—or until their heads explode.”

  • Citizen

    We need to shut down the imf, world bank, all of the mafia fronts including the worst in dc, the moneychangers (money hoovers), and take back the funds they’ve stolen from the people. What a racket. Time for pitchforks!

  • Lamine

    @ Herbie 27 Jun, 2015 – 9:04 pm, to all who are surprised by this fact

    Subsaharan African countries have been subject to this type of policies from the BrettonWoods institutions for decades under the guise of “macroeconomic structural adjustments” or “poverty reduction” programs. These policies have always been designed to make sure the economies of concerned countries remained based on raw material exports. Social infrastructure project have been systematically scraped while pipelines and raw material export port terminals have been favored. Western populations are now beginning to have a taste of these policies, because they are coming home, with banker induced privatisation of profits, collectivisation of losses as well as mass immigration provoked by imperial wars and lack of basic infrastructure in these artificially impoverished countries.

  • yo

    Working as expected, profits for corporations increased and more money fueled into the international banking system. People are irrelevant to them.

  • Winston

    Skinning Mr. Wolfowitz alive with some of his associates would probably work wonders for world progress.

  • Macky

    Here’s an article that illustrates my earlier comments about the corrupting role of the MIC iro Greece;

    Also take the opportunity to expand the point about the Olympic Games; not only did the general recession hit following this, but the 2004 Athens Games were the first to be held after 911, so the increased security costs meant that the original budget overshoot by several factors of unaffordable magnitude, but Greece had already committed & didn’t want to lose face, as it had already become a matter of national pride due to all the negative sniping leading right up to the very start of the Games.

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