Three days protests in Accra the Ghanaian capital as the West African nation continues to experience economic hardship despite a fresh $3 billion IMF loan
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the Ghanaian capital Accra on Saturday for a third day of anti-government protests linked to economic hardship that have led to dozens of arrests.
Protesters, some waving placards or the Ghanaian flag, decried the high cost of living and a lack of jobs as they marched under the watch of riot police. The gold-, oil- and cocoa-producing nation has been battling its worst economic crisis in a generation brought on by spiralling public debt.
Ghanaians gather for a third day of anti-government protests amid police arrests and obstruction in Accra, Ghana, September 23, 2023. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko
“The average Ghanaian can’t afford three square meals (per day) … the government doesn’t care,” said 24-year-old unemployed protester Romeo, who like others at the demonstration was wearing a red beret.
Police blocked the road to prevent protesters approaching Jubilee House, the seat of the presidency, which organisers Democracy Hub have vowed to occupy.
On Thursday, police said 49 people had been detained for unlawful assembly and violating the public order act on the first day of the three-day action. There was no sign of further arrests and the situation appeared calm on Saturday.
Last year, protests over soaring prices and other economic challenges led to clashes with police.
The government sealed a $3 billion, three-year loan programme with the International Monetary Fund in May, but detractors say the authorities have done too little to help those struggling to make ends meet amid the protracted downturn.
The government has forecast economic growth will slow to 1.5% this year from 3.1% in 2022. First-quarter growth was revised down to 3.3% from a previous estimate of 4.2%, the Ghana Statistical Service said on Wednesday.
Growth in the second quarter was driven by the mining, agriculture, health, transport, and information technology sectors.
Agriculture grew by 6.0% and the services sector 6.3%, while industry contracted 1.9%. The construction sub-sector contracted by 11.7%, the biggest drop in five years.
The statistics agency also said producer inflation slowed to 28.3% in annual terms in August, down from a revised 32.9% in July.