Country coordinates: Ghana
Resource-rich and politically stable, Ghana is often cited as a model for developing African nations. Although economic growth and good management in recent decades, including during the financial crisis, has allowed Ghana to make rapid progress towards human development and reduce poverty levels, the past few years have been rocky. Ghana is now facing significant macroeconomic challenges, including a sharp increase in inflation and public debt, a rapidly devaluing currency, and infrastructure shortages. Although net primary enrolment has reached 89.3 per cent, levels drop significantly at junior and senior secondary levels reflecting the rapid growth of the primary education sector, a shortage of secondary school places, continued de-prioritisation of education by less-educated parents and high child labour rates. The labour force remains poorly educated with 25 per cent having no education and 57.2 per cent with only primary-level schooling (2013, BECE). However, Ghana has a young expanding population and plans to take advantage of the demographic dividend by focusing on policies including family planning, education for girls and education to meet the needs of industry.
Education Intelligence identifies a few quick facts which present market opportunities in the Ghanaian education sector:
Expanding middle class
As wealth has increased, Ghana’s upper and middle classes have expanded. In 2013, the richest 20 per cent of households had annual income averaging US$6,579, and in the capital city, 57 per cent of households belong to the richest quintile. The mean household income in the same year was US$5,479 in urban areas and US$2,986 in rural areas. With an income of US$4-20 per day, the middle class is estimated to make up around 20 per cent of the population. This middle class is characterised by higher levels of education, home ownership, formal employment and by doing their shopping in supermarkets and malls as opposed to local markets. At the same time, the number of millionaires is forecast to increase by 50 per cent by 2016, and growth in the number of Ghanaian ultra-high-net-worth individuals over 2013-2023 is forecast to be among the highest in the world.
Key development areas for GDP growth
In 2015, a decreasing 53.8 per cent of GDP came from services, while slight increases were seen in industry and agriculture, at 26.7 per cent and 19.5 per cent respectively. While the Ghanaian economy has become increasingly diversified, agriculture remains a pillar of the economy although the sector is constrained by a lack of access to markets and land, and the declining popularity of the sector among young workers, who are increasingly interested in employment in services. The industrial sector is dominated by the processing and export of precious metals and minerals, including gold (which accounts for around 44% of exports), manganese, aluminium and crude and processed petroleum as well as construction, which has been a key growth sector in recent years. Ghana has a relatively strong and stable financial services sector and has seen tremendous growth in tourism, which accounted for 6.7 per cent of GDP in 2015 (World Travel and Tourism Council). Other key sectors ear-marked for growth include ICT, textiles, food processing, floriculture, pharmaceuticals and beauty products.
Economic growth forecast is robust
Although Ghana’s GDP continued to fall in nominal dollar terms in 2015, recovery is expected. GDP growth in Ghana had been consistently high during the preceding six years, averaging an annual rate of around six per cent and placing the country among the fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the country ranks 114 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, it performs well for the region. The economy has suffered significantly as the global price of commodities such as oil, cocoa and gold has fallen in recent years, and Ghana is facing severe macroeconomic challenges including inflationary pressure and a currency plunge of nearly 20 per cent. However, overall, Ghana’s economic growth is forecast to be robust, despite the current risks and conditions, and the government is optimistically targeting 8.2 per cent annual growth by 2018.
Digital performance steadily increasing
Internet access is a priority, and the government is looking to increase access through its Broadband Wireless Access strategy. In rural areas, Internet access is being increased through ‘telecentres’, which provide services for underserved villages. Internet access is being facilitated largely through mobile data: in 2014 just 0.3 per cent had access to a fixed broadband connection, the same rate as the previous year, but mobile broadband access jumped from 39.9 per cent of the population, to almost 60 per cent over the same period. This reflects the high cost, including taxation, of fixed Internet connections as well as the falling cost of mobile devices and data contracts. Access to the Internet is forecast to increase rapidly as smartphone and tablet ownership increases in line with wealth.
With the Country Brief series, Education Intelligence presents the most up-to-date socio-demographic and economic profiles of featured countries, which are closely aligned with local education market development. To access a comprehensive market overview of Ghana and inform internationalisation strategies for this market, the 2016 Country Brief is available for your use.