Growth and Structure of the Economy

  • Mozammel Huq
  • Michael Tribe


The foundations of the present structure of the Ghanaian economy were laid between 1890 and 1910. This 20-year period witnessed an annual average growth of 1.8 per cent in GDP per capita according to estimated national income accounts for that period. Judged by the economic performance of developing countries at that time, such a growth rate was high and marked a significant improvement in living standards. As observed by Omaboe (1966, p. 18):

This was the period during which the export economy of the forest belt of the country was developed and transformed. Prior to this the country had a small export trade but this was based largely upon the collection of naturally-occurring forest produce such as palm fruits and kernels, kola nuts and wild rubber. These two decades saw the replacement of this export trade by the product of two major economic activities, gold-mining and cocoa-farming. They have dominated the economy of the country for more than half a century now and they have dictated the pace of economic growth and the present structure of the economy.


  1. BoG. (n.d.-a). Brief History of the Ghana Currency. Accra: Bank of Ghana. Retrieved November 20, 2015,
  2. BoG. (2007b). Redenomination of the Cedi. Annual Report 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from
  3. Chenery, H., & Strout, A. M. (1966). Foreign Assistance and Economic Development. American Economic Review, 56(4 Part 1), 679–733.Google Scholar
  4. Devarajan, S. (2013). Africa’s Statistical Tragedy. Review of Income and Wealth, 59, S9–S15.Google Scholar
  5. GSS. (1996). Measuring Informal Sector Activity in Ghana: Proceedings of a Ghana Statistical Service/Overseas Development Administration Workshop. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
  6. GSS. (2010a). Rebasing of Ghana’s National Accounts to Reference Year 2006. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
  7. GSS. (2010b). Gross Domestic Product 2006–2010: New Series (Base Year 2006). Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
  8. GSS. (2017a). Newsletter: Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (QGDP) Fourth Quarter 2016. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
  9. GSS. (2017b). Quarterly GDP Bulletin April 2017 Edition: Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (2009–2016). Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
  10. Guardian. (2012). Lies, Damn Lies and GDP. Guardian Newspaper. November 20. Retrieved May 7, 2017, from
  11. Gyimah-Boadi, E., & Jeffries, R. (2000). The Political Economy of Reform. In E. Aryeetey, J. Harrigan, & M. Nissanke (Eds.), Economic Reforms in Ghana: The Miracle and the Mirage (pp. 32–50). Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
  12. Huq, M. M. (1989). The Economy of Ghana: The First 25 Years Since Independence. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. IMF. (2011). Ghana: IMF Country Report No 11/128. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  14. IMF. (2014a). Ghana: IMF Country Report No. 14/129. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  15. Jerven, M. (2012). Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do About It. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Jerven, M. (2013a). Comparability of GDP Estimates in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Effect of Revisions in Sources and Methods Since Structural Adjustment. Review of Income and Wealth, 59, S16–S36.Google Scholar
  17. Jerven, M. (2013b). For Richer, for Poorer: GDP Revisions and Africa’s Statistical Tragedy. African Affairs, 112(446), 138–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jerven, M. (2014a). Measuring African Development: Past and Present. Introduction to the Special Issue. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 35(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jerven, M. (2014b). African Growth Miracle or Statistical Tragedy? Interpreting Trends in the Data Over the Past Two Decades. WIDER Working Paper 2014/114. Helsinki: UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research.Google Scholar
  20. Jerven, M. (2015a). Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  21. Jerven, M. (2015b). Measuring Economic Progress in the African Context. In C. Monga & J. Y. Lin (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics. Volume 1: Context and Concepts (pp. 393–406). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jerven, M., & Duncan, M. E. (2012). Revising GDP Estimates in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from Ghana. African Statistical Journal, 15, 13–24.Google Scholar
  23. Killick, T. (2000). Fragile Still? The Structure of Ghana’s Economy 1960–94. In E. Aryeetey, J. Harrigan & M. Nissanke (Eds.), Economic Reforms in Ghana: The Miracle and the Mirage. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
  24. Leith, J. C. (1974). Foreign Trade Regimes and Economic Development: Ghana. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  25. Lewis, W. A. (1954), Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour. Manchester School, 22(2), 139–191.Google Scholar
  26. Livingstone, I., Teriba, O., & Diejomaoh, V. P. (1987). Economics for West Africa. London: Heinemann Books.Google Scholar
  27. McKay, A. (2013). Growth and Poverty Reduction in Africa in the Last Two Decades: Evidence from an AERC Growth-Poverty Project and Beyond. Journal of African Economies, 22(Supp 1), i49–i76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morgenstern, O. (1963). On the Accuracy of Economic Observations (2nd ed.). Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Myint, H. (1964). The Economics of the Developing Countries. London: Hutchinson University Library.Google Scholar
  30. Nurkse, R. (1953). Problems of Capital Formation in Underdeveloped Countries. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  31. Omaboe, E. N. (1966a). An Introductory Survey. In W. Birmingham, I. Neustadt, & E. N. Omaboe (Eds.), A Study of Contemporary Ghana—Volume 1 The Economy of Ghana. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  32. Opare-Henaku, A., Mensah, E. C., & Dzokoto, V. A. A. (2013). Ghanaians’ Perception and Evaluation of the New Ghana Cedi. International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology, 3(4). Retrieved November 20, 2015, from
  33. Republic of Ghana. (2014). Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy and Supplementary Estimates of the Government of Ghana for the 2015 Financial Year. Accra: Ministry of Finance.Google Scholar
  34. Rostow, W. W. (1960a). The Stages of Economic Growth (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Rostow, W. W. (1960b). The Process of Economic Growth (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  36. Swanepoel, N. (2015). Small Change: Cowries, Coins, and the Currency Transition in the Northern Territories of Colonial Ghana. In F. G. Richard (Ed.), Materializing Colonial Encounters (pp. 41–69). New York: Springer Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tanzi, V. (1991). Public Finance in Developing Countries. Aldershot: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  38. Tribe, K. (2015). The Measurement of Economic Activity and the Growth Metric: Constructing National Income in Britain, 1907–1941. Tribe, K. The Economy of the Word: Oxford: Oxford University Press: 89–110.Google Scholar
  39. Tribe, M. (1998). Sustainable Rural Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Reflections on Ghana and Uganda. Development and Project Planning Centre, Discussion Paper Series 2 No. 7. Bradford: University of Bradford.Google Scholar
  40. UN. (1953). A System of National Accounts and Supporting Tables. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistical Office, Studies in Methods No 2. United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
  41. UN. (2009). System of National Accounts 2008. New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.Google Scholar
  42. Wikipedia. (n.d.). Ghanaian Currency. Last modified on October 18, 2015 and downloaded on November 20, 2015.Google Scholar
  43. World Bank. (2013c). Country Partnership Strategy for the Republic of Ghana for the Period Fy13-Fy16. Report No. 76369-GH. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  44. World Bank. (2015a). World Development Indicators 2015. Washington, DC: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. World Bank. (2015b). New Country Categorisations. Retrieved December 28, 2015, from
  46. World Bank. (2016a). World Development Indicators. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  47. Zambia. (2013). Reaction of the Zambian Central Statistical Office to Mr Morten Jerven’s Book—“Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do About It.” A presentation made at the 20th SADC Statistics Committee Meeting, Pemba, Mozambique, 28–30 May, by Director, Central Statistical Office, Zambia.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mozammel Huq
    • 1
  • Michael Tribe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations