Following general elections on Monday that proved peaceful despite widespread worries of violence and civil unrest, businesses across Ghana resumed, as usual, the following day Tuesday December 7, without missing a beat.
The election day had been declared a public holiday and so formal sector businesses were closed for the day.
In actual fact though many corporate chieftains and small business owners were uncertain when they would be able to open as the usual threats of resisting supposed efforts to rig election results by political party chieftains was on show alongside their converse public commitments to peace.
Ultimately though it was the commitments to peace that won through and these have been maintained during the arduous nationwide vote counting done the following day. Consequently both corporate Ghana and small businesses alike have opened their doors to customers and have resumed their usual activities right from the day after the elections.
This is crucial to Ghana’s economic fortunes, since the economy is struggling to rebound from an unprecedented economic slump which occurred during the second quarter of the year due to the arrival of COVID-19 in the country and government’s requisite public policy measures to curb its spread including a total lock down of the two biggest economic hubs in the country – the Greater Accra Region and Kumasi – for three weeks in April.
This led to a record 3.2 percent economic contraction for the second quarter of the year although data from the Bank of Ghana indicates that the economy has since begun rebounding strongly from the third quarter as government has been removing its socio-economic restrictions in phases. The central bank now expects full year economic growth of about two percent.
However new fears have arisen since a second wave of COVID 19 has surged in recent weeks which has been largely ignored in recent days by both the government and the general populace because of last Monday’s elections.
Therefore the smooth continuation of business activities, missing just one day due to the public holiday granted for the election day itself, is seen as crucial towards ensuring that the economic rebound continues unabated.
In a show of confidence which has not gone unnoticed by the international business community, even the biggest multinationals operating in Ghana have not taken any unusual precautionary measures to ensure the safety of employees and property.
Similarly local small businesses have stayed open – many of them on election day itself despite the public holiday given – evidencing their confidence that peace would prevail, which indeed it has.
With results now being declared and accepted by all stakeholders, corporate Ghana can now resume making major investment decisions which they had put on hold – not out of fear of civil unrest and violence but simply out of uncertainty as to the direction of economic policy, resulting from the elections.