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Abstract

As Ghana enters its second half century, we are faced with a paradox. Despite a solid transition to democracy in the political situation, despite recorded recovery in the last fifteen years from the economic malaise of the two decades preceding, and despite reductions in measured poverty, there is widespread perception of failure of the economic and political system in delivering improving living standards to the population. This essay introduces a volume of papers that call for a deeper examination of the macro level data on growth and on poverty. A sectoral and regional disaggregation reveals weaknesses in the levels and composition of private investment, in the generation of employment, in sectoral diversification, and in the distribution of the benefits of growth. At the same time, the push for decentralization and for better allocation, monitoring and implementation of public expenditure has raised more questions than it has answered. These are the challenges that Ghana faces if it is to fulfill the bright promise of its independence in 1957. The papers in this volume set out an analytical agenda that we hope will help in laying the ground work for the path that the nation’s policy makers will have to steer on the road to 2057.

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